Radiation Protection - Role and Function

The University supports, at any one time, up to 1,000 radiation workers involved in a variety of projects using radioactive materials. These can be students, academic or technical staff, or visitors from other institutions.

The mission of the University Radiation Protection Service (RPS) is to provide the advice, training and support necessary to ensure the health and safety of all members of the University community using ionising, laser, ultraviolet and optical radiations.

Training is provided in the form of a two day Radiation Safety Course and exam. Support services include radioactive waste collection and disposal, testing and repair of contamination monitors and provision of a dosimetry service which tracks and records exposure to ionising radiations.

The RPS is to be found in room 102, Kelvin Building, Gilmorehill Campus. Main telephone number is 0141 330 4471.

Types of radiation encountered in the University

Ionising radiation

Work involving ionising radiation is generally split into three categories:

  • unsealed radioactive materials
  • sealed (or closed) radioactive materials
  • electrically generated X-rays

All radiation workers (regardless of category) are registered with the RPS and have to undertake the radiation safety course and complete an assessment before being allowed to work unsupervised with radioactive materials or X-ray systems. Each School/College using ionising radiation has a local Radiation Protection Supervisor who has a responsibility to ensure workers are registered appropriately.

Ionising radiations are governed principally by the Radioactive Substances Act 1993 and the Ionising Radiations Regulations 1999 as well as other legislation. The role of the RPS is to help the user understand and comply with the various legislations. For more information on ionising radiations visit the RPS web site.

Ultraviolet radiation

  • Ultraviolet (UV) sources are found in many laboratories and applications, from germicidal cabinets to photolithography. Although UV radiation is non-ionising it still poses a hazard and consideration of the risks should be undertaken before using any UV source. Organs most at risk are eyes and skin.
  • The RPS has the necessary equipment to measure UV sources to ensure compliance with the Maximum Permitted Exposure (MPE) and this service is available on request.
  • For more information on ultraviolet radiations visit the RPS web site.

Laser radiation

  • Laser is an acronym for Light Amplification by the Stimulated Emission of Radiation. Lasers are grouped into four classifications 1-4, with classes 3B and 4 being the most hazardous.
  • Class 3B and 4 lasers require dedicated areas with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), administrative and engineering controls. All class 3B and 4 laser operators are required to register with the RPS.
  • A laser user guide is available (in pdf form) from RPS.
  • Organs most at risk are eyes and skin.

Optical radiation

  • Laser and UV sources are types of non-ionising radiation which come under the new Artificial Optical Radiation Directive (AORD). Other sources of optical radiation such as white light sources, strobe sources , blue light sources and welding equipment also come under the AORD directive.
  • A guide to the Artificial Optical Radiation Directive is available (in pdf form) from RPS.