Radioactive Materials Incidents and Spills

If you have a spill of radioactive materials:

  1. Do not leave the area.
  2. Call Radiation Safety at (612) 626-6002, or University emergency dispatch outside of normal working hours.
  3. Alert people in the area.
  4. Survey yourself for contamination.
  5. Restrict access to the area.

If you have a spill of radioactive materials, the Department of Radiation Safety (DRS) is here to help. Be assured that there will not be any negative consequences for reporting a spill — no one’s job, appointment, or permit will be jeopardized due to reporting a spill or incident involving radioactive materials.

If the spill is in a contained area, such as a spill tray or fume hood, you may clean it on your own if you are comfortable doing so. DRS can help to walk you through that process.

Any time the spill is outside of a contained area — on a benchtop, floor, lab coat, clothing, or skin — you must call DRS, or the University’s emergency response if you are working after hours.

The top priorities in the event of a spill are the safety of all involved, the control of the spread of contamination, and the removal of contamination. Anyone in the immediate area of the spill should be alerted to the situation. In order to prevent the spread of contamination outside the lab or work area they should not be allowed to leave until they have been surveyed and cleared.

Contaminated lab coats, clothing, or shoes should be removed, bagged, and labeled as contaminated. If material is on the skin, wash the area under warm water with a mild soap. Survey the area after cleaning to assure all contamination has been removed.