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Training FAQs
Q. What exams do I need to take?
A. We offer three exams: the Radiation Safety Exam, the PET Exam and the Irradiator Exam.  Anyone who will use radioactive materials of any kind must take the Radiation Safety Exam, with the exception of Nuclear Medicine Physicians, Technologists and Registered Pharmacists, Radiation Oncology Physicians, Diagnostic Radiology personnel and Clinical PET imaging personnel whose only use of RAM is positron-emitting isotopes in a clinical setting.  Also excluded are individuals whose only use of radiation is one or more of the self-shielded gamma irradiators.  The PET Exam is required of anyone who will work with positron emitting isotopes in any capacity.  The Irradiator Exam is required of any worker who will use one of the gamma irradiators.  These exams need only be taken once, regardless of any gaps in employement history with Washington University.
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Q. If I've had radiation safety training elsewhere, must I take your exam?
A. Yes.  Because it proved difficult to verify that training from other institutions was similar to ours in content and intensity, we require all radiation workers, including Authorized Users, to pass our exam.  You need only pass the exam(s) applicable to the types of radioactive work you will be performing.
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Q. Do all of my lab workers have to pass the required Radiation Safety Exam(s)?
A. Only workers who will use or come in direct contact with radioactive materials have to pass the exam.  These are the only individuals who need to be listed as "radiation workers" on the application.
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Q. Why must I formally request in writing that a radiation worker be added to my authorization permit(s) and how do I do so?
A. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the federal agency that licenses our use and possession of radioactive material (RAM), gives certain safety oversight responsibilities to an institutional committee, the Radiation Safety Committee (RSC).   The RSC, in turn, delegates certain responsibilities to research faculty members by approving them to use RAM, i.e. to become an “Authorized User”.  The faculty members who are granted authorization to use RAM are responsible for the safe use of the material both by themselves, and by the individuals working under their authorization.   We have had some individuals tell us whose authorization they will be working under when they take one of our exams, and later we find out that the Authorized User does not know this individual is working under their authorization.   For this reason, we feel it is important that the Authorized have the final authority to determine when that person is ready to be added to their permit by making a formal request to do so.

Authorized Users or their designated Radiation Safety Lab Contact may begin using the Radiation Worker Request form, at any time, to request that a radiation worker be added to their permit(s).  In the case of a brand new worker, the individual should bring this completed form with them when they take the Radiation Safety Exam (RSE) and/or PET exam.  To add an existing radiation worker (one who has already taken the exam) to your permit, just send this completed form (available in the “printable forms” section of this website) to Radiation Safety, or complete it in MyRad, and our staff will verify the exam status before adding the worker to your indicated permit(s).

Until October 1, 2017, completion of this form is optional.  We ask that Authorized Users and Lab Contacts start using the form to test it out and provide us comments on this new procedure.  Beginning October 1, 2017, use of this form will be mandatory.
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Q. Is there a study guide for the exam(s)?
A. Yes.  The study guides provide all the information a workers needs to know to be able to pass the exam(s), and are available on this website from the following links: Radiation Safety Exam; PET Exam.  Anyone wishing to use an irradiator should contact Casey Delf for a study guide ( ).
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Q. What other types of training do you offer and how often must they be completed?
A. All Authorized Users and radiation workers are required to have "refresher" training at least once a year.  The training will be provided by Radiation Safety to the Authorized User and Lab Contact in April every year, and it must be completed by all the necessary individuals by September 30.  As a part of this "refresher" training, the Authorized User is also responsible to provide lab-specific ALARA training to all radiation workers in his or her lab.  This training is to include a review of the ALARA philosophy, and especially, how it relates to lab-specific procedures and protocols.  We also offer specialized training for designated Lab Contacts, which is voluntary and would only need to be taken once; three optional, one-time-only training modules designed for Business administrators that deal with 1) RAM authorizations and training, 2) RAM orders and radwaste, and 3) closeouts and authorization terminations; prenatal guidance to anyone who requests it, particularly declared pregnant female workers, and much more.  Contact Radiation Safety at 314-362-3476 for information on any other training options.
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Q. What do non-RAM workers in my lab need to know?
A. All non-RAM workers in labs that contain radioactive mateials need to know:
  • What radioactive materials may be in the lab and in what amounts
  • Where the materials may be located and used within the lab
  • Radiation exposure potentials in the area
  • How to maintain the security of radioactive materials at all times
  • To report suspicious people or objects to Protective Services
  • Where the radiation safety records for the lab are kept
  • What to do in case of an emergency
  • What to do in case of pregnancy
  • To contact Radiation Safety at any time with questions, comments or concerns
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Q. What is the schedule for upcoming Lab Contact Training sessions, and who should I call to schedule?
A. You may call Briana Davis at 362-4966 to make an appointment for the course.  Upcoming dates are:
  • Friday April 14, 2017  (1:30–4:00) CANCELLED
  • Monday May 1, 2017  (9:30–12:00)
  • Tuesday June 6, 2017  (1:30–4:00)
  • Wednesday July 12, 2017  (9:30–12:00)
  • Thursday August 24, 2017  (9:30–12:00)
  • Friday September 22, 2017  (1:30–4:00) CANCELLED
  • Monday October 16, 2017  (9:30–12:00)
  • Tuesday November 14, 2017  (1:30–4:00)
  • Wednesday December 13, 2017  (9:30–12:00)
All sessions are held by appointment only in the Radiation Safety Conference room, 420 Olin Residence Hall.  Please note that due to the lengthy nature of this course, Radiation Safety reserves the right to cancel any session for which there is not a sufficient number of attendees pre-registered.
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