Environmental, Health and Safety Services

Radiation Safety-Organization

2.0 Radiation Safety - Organization

The Radiation Safety Committee is the highest decision making body for all radiation safety matters at Virginia Tech. This committee reports to the Vice President for Research. The Department of Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) administers the university radiation safety policies on a daily basis, through its Radiation Safety Division. This department reports to the Vice President for Administrative Services.

2.1 Radiation Safety Committee

The university has established the Virginia Tech Radiation Safety Committee (RSC) as a University Operational Committee with the authority to regulate the safe use of ionizing radiation by university personnel. The RSC develops rules for this purpose and oversees their implementation.

The Vice-Provost for Research appoints members of the RSC. The Radiation Safety Officer is an ex officio member. A representative of the Vice-Provost for Research Administrative unit will be an ex officio member representing university top management. At least two active users of radioisotopes, one user of X-rays, and other members, as necessary, are appointed on the basis of their experience with radiation. An individual with administrative experience and responsibilities serves as Chairman of the Committee. Members of the RSC shall serve a three-year term and may be reappointed for additional terms. A member who misses three consecutive meetings without approval of the Chairman for adequate cause shall be considered to have resigned.

A meeting of the RSC will be held at least quarterly. The Chairman shall call additional meetings as necessary. Minutes of the meetings shall be recorded and distributed to selected persons. A quorum shall consist of half of the members plus one and must include the Chairman, the Radiation Safety Officer, and the top management representative or their designees. Decisions shall be based upon approval of a majority of the members present. In the event of a tie, the Chairman may vote.

The RSC may delegate its authority to the Chairman (or whoever the Chairman designates in writing as an alternate), and to the Radiation Safety Officer. The delegates would have the authority to act in the RSC's behalf on such occasions that arise between normal meeting dates that do not warrant a special meeting of the full Committee. An example would be the approval of an authorization amendment, such as the addition or deletion of personnel in an individual laboratory.

The RSC shall:

Approve all applications for use of radiation devices and radioactive material by university personnel.

Approve radiological hazard analyses of new procedures used by laboratories. Each new procedure or experiment must include:

  • Purpose of the experiment
  • Description of the experiment
  • Analysis of the possible radiation levels produced by the experiment
  • Hazards associated with the performance of the experiment

Approve each use of unsealed radioactive material at temporary job sites and monitor the user's operations with these materials and equipment.

Ensure any modifications or improvements it considers necessary in the interest of radiation safety or compliance with federal, state, or internal regulations are implemented.

Review the radiation protection program content and implementation on an annual basis.

Administer disciplinary actions for violations by an ad hoc disciplinary subcommittee composed of:

  • RSC Chairman (unless an alternate is designated in writing to avoid a potential conflict of interest)
  • Radiation Safety Officer
  • Individuals with experience relevant to the incident (can be from outside of the RSC)

2.2 Environmental Health and Safety Department

The Department of Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) is charged with the responsibility for the coordination of all safety and environmental safety programs at the university not specifically assigned elsewhere. The Radiation Safety Office is a division of this department.

2.3 Radiation Safety Officer

The Radiation Safety Officer (RSO) is a staff member of EHS, who by reason of education, training, and experience, is qualified to advise others in the safe use of ionizing radiation and to supervise the health physics program of the University.

The Radiation Safety Officer shall:

  • be responsible for personnel monitoring, training, maintenance of exposure records, radioactive material inventories, survey methods, waste disposal and inspections to assure compliance with radiological safety practices.
  • approve in writing all activities and procedures that involve actual or potential exposure of personnel to radiation or the release of radioactive materials to the environment, and ensure such activities are brought before the Committee for review and approval.
  • conduct radiological hazard analyses on all new procedures used by laboratories.
  • be available to consult with all users of ionizing radiation and give advice in radiological safety practices.
  • shall suspend any operation causing, or believed capable of causing, an excessive radiation hazard as rapidly as possible.
  • ensure radiation safety violations are treated according to the Disciplinary Procedures Section of this manual.
  • perform routine and special radiation surveys as considered necessary in the interest of radiation safety.
  • provide the RSC a quarterly resume of incidents, inspections, material received, an inventory of radioactive material, summary of exposures and a list of authorized users of radioisotopes.
  • provide the RSC a quarterly report on X-ray laboratories to include a summary of exposures, a current list of authorized users, and any abnormal occurrences.
  • complete duties in a timely manner
      1. A monthly frequency is plus or minus one week
      2. A quarterly frequency is three months plus or minus two weeks
      3. A semi-annual frequency is six months plus or minus one month
      4. An annual frequency is twelve months plus or minus two months