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Oklahoma State University
University Research Compliance

A unit in the Division of the Vice President for Research

Radiation Safety - Becoming a Principal Investigator Authorized to use Radioative Materials or X-Ray Machines

Becoming a Principal Investigator Authorized to use Radioactive Materials or X-Ray Machines.

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To become a PI of radioactive materials (RAM) or X-ray producing machines, please follow the steps below.

Complete training request form and send to Radiation Safety Office
Take required training
Schedule time with Radiation Safety Office for training on the URC Assistant Software
Fill out RAM Use Application or X-ray Use Application form and submit to the Radiation Safety Office
Provide a copy of your Lab/Machine Specific Training to the Radiation Safety Office
Schedule an inspection and labeling of your facilities by the Radiation Safety Office staff
Fill out training request forms for all personnel in your laboratory who will work with RAM and/or x-ray machines
Obtain dosimeters if required for you and all users in your lab
Upon approval from RSO/RSC, you may begin your research involving RAM and/or x-ray machines.

Step 1: Training Request Form

You must first fill out the training request form so that we can enter you into the URC Assistant database to give you access to online training. You will receive an e-mail from radsafe@okstate.edu with instructions for logging in to the URC Assistant software to take the required training.

Please do not send in the training request form until such time as you will be able to take the required training as you will be expected to complete all required training within one month of being entered into the system.

Step 2: Taking Required Training

Upon receiving log in instructions, you will have approximately one month to take the required training course(s) online. The type of training you will take depends upon the type of radiation with which you will be working. Refer to the Training Requirements page of this website if you are unsure of which training you will need to take, and for frequency of refresher training.

It is important to note that upon activation of a permit for a PI, his/her training status must remain current. The Radiation Safety Office will send out notifications via e-mail and/or phone calls when your training is within approximately 45 days, 2 weeks, and 4 days of expiring in an effort to help you keep track of your training. Expired training for a principal investigator will result in suspension of permit and RAM/x-ray activities in his/her laboratories until training is updated.

Additional copies of your training certificates will need to be kept in the lab and made available upon request.

Step 3: URC Assistant Software Training

PIs will need to be trained in using the URC Assistant, the online software that will help you monitor and control your inventory, training requirements, and personnel. Users of unsealed sources of RAM will also be able to request permission to order stock, log use of stock vials, and request waste pickups.

PIs may choose to designate a person, e.g. a lab manager or post doc, to have access to managing your permit and inventory via the URC Assistant as well.

Call the Radiation Safety Office at 744-1676 to set up an appointment at your convenience. Please note that until you have been trained on the software, your abilities to monitor your permit status may be limited.

Step 4: Submission of application form

You will need to fill out the RAM Use Application or the X-ray Use Application form to explain how you intend to use RAM or x-ray machines in your laboratory. Please follow the instructions on the forms, and contact our office with any questions you might have. You will be asked to submit an application for the procedure that involves the use of radioactive materials or an x-ray machine.

Radiation Safety personnel may be in contact with you after submission of your application if revisions or additional information is required. The goal is to clarify potential issues prior to submission of your application to the university’s Radiation Safety Committee (RSC), the entity which ultimately grants approval for your use of the radioactive material(s) or x-ray machine(s). We try to expedite the approval process by addressing as many questions and concerns as we can prior to the committee meetings. If approved, your approval for will be valid for three years, after which all applications must be resubmitted and re-approved by the RSC.

While all new applications require approval from the RSC, some modifications and amendments to currently approved applications may require only Radiation Safety Officer (RSO) approval. The RSO has the discretion to grant provisional approval of your application in certain situations to allow work to begin prior to RSC approval. This decision will be based on several factors including, but not limited to, experience of the PI in the area for which he is applying, whether or not the PI is already approved for other RAM and/or x-ray procedures with the Radiation Safety Office, whether or not the PI is already approved for the radioisotope on a different procedure. If provisional approval is not granted, it should not be taken as an indication of whether or not your application will be approved by the RSC, it simply means that there are factors that the RSO does not have the authority to approve without RSC input.

Once approved, your approval will be valid as-is for three years. Any deviation from the written procedure will require pre-approval from the RSO and possibly the RSC. Minor amendments to existing procedures can be made via the RSO. Major amendments may require full RSC approval. Contact the RSO to determine whether the change you are looking to make will require RSO or RSC approval.

At the end of the three year approval for your application, you will be required to submit an updated version for your procedure. This updated application can be identical to the previously approved version if nothing about your equipment or procedures have changed.

It should be understood that approval of an application does NOT grant approval for any/all uses of the indicated isotope. If you have more than one procedure that will make use of a radioisotope, you will need to describe each different procedure in your application.

Step 5: Lab/Machine Specific Training

As a PI, you are responsible for providing annual training to all users of radioactive materials (lab specific training, or LST) or x-ray machines (machine specific training, or MST) in your laboratory to ensure they are aware of the specific hazards in your lab and how to work with and around them properly. For radioactive materials you will need to include information about the radioisotopes that are used, how to work with them safely, where they are stored, where the radioactive work areas are, dosimetry (if required), frequency of contamination surveys, use of liquid scintillation counter and appropriate survey meter, etc. If you are in an x-ray lab, you will need to create machine specific training detailing the interlocks and safety mechanisms, normal operating kVp/mA, powering up and down procedures, etc. See Training Requirements for more information about what to include in your training and how to properly document that it has been completed by your users.

Documentation of these trainings must be submitted to the Radiation Safety Office either electronically (radsafe@okstate.edu) or hard copies can be sent to 223 Scott Hall. You must also keep current copies in your lab to be available upon request. These training requirements are incorporated as part of the procedure for use of that particular radioisotope or x-ray machine prior to approval. See Training Requirements for more information about what to include in your training and how to properly document that it has been completed by your users.

Step 6: Pre-inspection and labeling of laboratories

Radiation Safety Office personnel will visit your lab and place the required postings to make your lab ready for the receipt of radioactive materials or x-ray producing machines. All equipment and radioactive material or x-ray work areas will be labeled as required by mandatory state and federal regulations.

Step 7: Training Requests for Users

Before your lab personnel can begin working with radioactive materials or x-ray machines they will need to complete the same required training that you completed in step 2 above. A training request form for each user who will actively work with radioactive materials and/or x-ray machines in your lab must be submitted by each individual. The form must include the type of radiation they will work with in your lab (e.g. P-32, C-14, sealed sources, x-rays). The forms must be signed by you or submitted to the Radiation Safety Office from your e-mail account, which is the indication to the Radiation Safety Office that you want this person attached to your RAM/X-ray permit. All users must be attached to an active permit, so Radiation Safety personnel will NOT give users access to training unless permission from the PI is documented.

Like you, each of your users will receive an e-mail from radsafe@okstate.edu with instructions for taking the training. You will be copied on this e-mail, which will list the online training they need to take and the due date for taking it. Additionally, it will list a training deadline for taking the LST or MST as required in Step 5. In general, everyone will be given approximately one month to take the online training, and an additional two weeks to submit the LST or MST to the Radiation Safety Office.

All users on your permit are required to keep their training up to date. The Radiation Safety Office will send out e-mail notifications to users and their PIs at approximately 45 days, 2 weeks, and 4 days prior to expiration of their online training to assist in keeping track of training requirements. Expired online training for a user on a PI’s permit will result in removal of that person from the permit and suspension of the user’s radioactive materials and/or x-ray privileges until their training requirements are up to date.

Expiration dates for LST or MST will be reported on quarterly reports. Please monitor these and renew LST and MST as needed.

Copies of online training certificates for users and PIs must be kept in the laboratory and made available upon request.

Step 8: Obtain dosimeters if required

All x-ray users and some radioactive materials users will be required to wear body (and in some cases ring) dosimeters whenever they work with said machines and materials. You will need to have each person fill out a badge request form and send it to the Radiation Safety Office with your signature. Alternatively, you can fill out the form electronically and send it to radsafe@okstate.edu from the PI’s okstate.edu e-mail account. Since you will be charged for dosimeters, we must insist on a signed copy or be able to acknowledge that you are aware of the request.

See RSO Dosimeter Billing Policy for how you will be billed for each dosimeter.

Step 9: Approval

Upon official approval of your application by the Radiation Safety Committee, you will be sent an approval letter indicating the name of the procedure, the radioisotope/x-ray machine applied for, and the date of approval. It will also include an expiration date, your shipping and possession limits, and an application number. You will use this application number for grant routings (i.e. applications, approvals, modifications, and renewals) that will involve the approved procedure(s). Upon receipt of this letter and completion of the steps above you will be authorized to use radioactive materials and/or x-ray machines as described in your approved application.