Radiation Safety

Environment, Health, & Safety


Services And Responsibilities Of The Radiation Safety Officer and Committee

Education/Training/Consultation Services

Provides basic safety education to all radiation handlers on campus as well as special instruction in waste handling, contamination surveys, protein labeling, x-ray diffraction, x-ray machine use, and custodial responsibilities.

The following services are available:

  • Periodic safety lectures
  • Private meeting to discus general and personal safety procedures, contamination surveys methods, waste handling, pregnancy, etc.
  • Group meetings with laboratory staff to discuss safety concerns
  • Radiation safety videotapes available from the Environmental Health & Safety Department (EH&S) for viewing.
  • Contact the Radiation Safety Officer (RSO) to schedule any of the above activities.

Maintains a mailing list of radiation for periodic communications regarding policy and procedures as well as announcements of available courses.

Publishes articles in SUNY Plattsburgh Safety Line on safety tips, techniques, and regulations.

Inspections (Safety Audits)

  • Conducts unannounced annual inspections of all SUNY Plattsburgh radiation handling laboratories on campus to ensure adherence to the safety regulations in this Handbook
  • Notifies the investigator of the results of all inspections.
  • Evaluates the appropriateness of the investigator's response to a violation notice.
  • Conduct repeat inspections of laboratories with repeat violations.
  • Conduct unannounced inspections of SUNY Plattsburgh laboratories.
  • Inspect laboratories at the request of employees. Such request can remain anonymous.
  • Ensure that labs conduct weekly surveys for contamination; reviews all reports for accuracy and completeness.


Responds immediately to:

  • Personnel contaminated with radiation
  • Major spills of radioactive materials
  • Fire in a radiation-handling laboratory
  • Request by lab personnel for assistance

Campus police have the home telephone numbers of EH&S staff to contact them for emergencies after work hours.

Personnel Monitoring Services

  • Arranges with a commercial vendor to have films badges and ring monitors provided for all persons working with gamma ray-emitting and certain beta particle-emitting radionuclides.
  • Distributes film badges and ring monitors to all participating departments each month.
  • Reviews the personnel radiation exposure readings each month to ensure that they are within the As Low As Reasonably Achievable (ALARA) action levels of 10% of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) limits.
  • Notifies persons in writing when exposure readings exceed ALARA action levels of 10% of the NRC limits.
  • Notifies persons in writing of monthly whole body exposure badges exceeds 42 millirems, 125 millirems to lens of the eye, 417 millirems to the skin, or if monthly ring badges exceed 417 millirems.
  • Takes actions to reduce radiation exposures when necessary.
  • Reports personnel radiation exposures to the RSC (Radiation Safety Committee) each calendar quarter.
  • Maintains personnel radiation exposure records.
  • Meets with pregnant radiation workers to discuss and explain monitoring and safety techniques.
  • Obtains radiation exposure records from all personnel who have worn badges at other institutions.
  • Sends an annual radiation exposure report to all current SUNY Plattsburgh personnel who used film badges and ring monitors during the year.
  • Sends a written report to the lab supervisor whenever one or more persons in that lab receive an exposure to 10 millirems in any month. If all persons in that lab have received M exposure (minimal), no report will be sent to the lab that particular month.
  • Recovers all costs associated with this service by direct billing to the investigator.

Waste Disposal Services

  • Receives all radioactive waste generated on campus.
  • Receives decayed dry waste for proper disposal in city landfill or approved incinerator.
  • Sorts radioactive waste into appropriate categories defined by commercial disposal sites.
  • Packages all radioactive waste, following Department of Health (DOH) and disposal site requirements.
  • Stores short-lived radioactive waste at the low level Radioactive Waste Facility in the Service Building Warehouse.
  • Arranges for commercial disposal of all radioactive waste generated on campus.
  • Provides dry waste disposal containers to all radiation handling laboratories.
  • Maintains all records of radioactive waste disposal as required by the New York State Health Department.
  • Recovers all radioactive waste disposal costs by direct billing to the investigator who generates the waste. Billing is based on volume and waste category.


  • Screens all applications by new investigators prior to review by the RSC.
  • Administers and grades written examinations for radiation handlers.
  • Approves and commissions all space which is proposed for use as a radiation handling laboratory.
  • Decommissions a radiation handling laboratory when an investigator terminates radiation work
    • Also, decommissioning must occur prior to such time when renovations are planned for a radiation-handling laboratory.
  • Recertifies all radiation handlers.


  • Conducts quality control tests on all radiation detectors used by the RSO.
  • Assists laboratories to determine the efficiency of their detectors for various radionuclides.
  • Ensures that all radiation detectors used for contamination survey reports are calibrated annually.
  • Loans Geiger counters to labs for short time periods

Ordering And Receiving Of Radioactive Materials

  • The Radiation Safety Officer (RSO) approves all orders for radioactive materials after receiving the purchase requisition from the authorized investigator.
  • Maintains an inventory of all radiation sources and radioactive materials at SUNY Plattsburgh to ensure that the College's possession limit is not exceeded.
  • Provides copies of Investigator's radionuclide inventory upon request.
  • Check all packages of unsealed radioactive materials for contamination before transfer to the authorized Investigator.

Sponsored Research Project Approval

  • The Office of Sponsored Research requires RSC approval for all grant applications, which propose to use radiation.
  • Approval is based on: qualifications of investigator, impact on the College's radionuclide possession limit, safety of the project, and adequacy of funds for waste disposal.
  • Approval by the RSO at the time of grand submission does not eliminate the need for a formal and detailed evaluation of the project if and when it is funded.


  • Ensures that SUNY Plattsburgh's license is renewed every 5 years.
  • Amends the DOH license when necessary.
  • Responds to DOH notice of violations and takes corrective actions.
  • Notifies the DOH if there is any:
    • Loss or theft of licensed material
    • Major contamination incident
    • Overexposure of personnel to radiation
    • Excessive levels and concentrations released to the environment
  • Secure permits for the use of disposal sites.


Provides financial data to Sponsored Research to be used in indirect rate computations.

Contact Information

Cathleen Eldridge, Associate Director
Office: Sibley Hall 421
Phone: (518) 564-5009
Fax: (518) 564-5082
Email: eldridcm@plattsburgh.edu