Laboratories containing radioactive materials, x-ray instruments or class 3B or 4 lasers must comply with the legislative requirements for their respective use. The requirements can, in some cases, be quite extensive and may depend upon the work that is to be conducted. As such, advice should be sought from the University RSO prior to the establishment of any new facility. A brief overview of the legal requirements common to many facilities is given below. Note, approvals for each project will continue to be required even when many projects utilise the same facility.
Requirements for radioisotope facilities
All laboratories using radioactive materials must be approved for use by the WA State Government Regulator prior to any work being conducted. The Regulator will require the RSO to submit architectural, plumbing and ventilation plans for the laboratory so as to make an assessment of the laboratory’s suitability for radioactive materials work. Architectural, plumbing or ventilation changes can be time consuming and costly. As such, it would be prudent to make arrangements with the RSO for approval many months in advance of the commencement of work in case the Regulator does not initially provide approval.
Requirements for laser facilities
Laser facility requirements are detailed in the Radiation Safety (General) Regulations 1983 and refer to Australian Standard AS/NZS 2211.1:2004 for specific items. As with other radiation laboratories it would be prudent to allow time prior to the commencement of work to ensure these requirements are met. In some cases it may take a few months to arrange for the laboratory to have the appropriate security and safety systems in place. See further information and examples of possible laser facility designs.
Requirements for x-ray facilities
Rooms containing x-ray generating instruments, whether for analysis or diagnostic purposes, may require walls and windows to have appropriate shielding. The plans for this facility will then need to be sent by the RSO to the WA State Government Regulator for approval prior to the commencement of work. In addition, the room in which the apparatus is located and the surrounding area may be required to undergo a 3 month radiation survey at commencement of operations, or at any other time as specified by the WA State Government Regulator, to confirm radiation levels are below the legislated limits.