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Environmental Health and Safety


Radiation Safety

The University of South Carolina’s Radiation Safety Program consists of all users of ionizing and non-ionizing radiation that could pose an occupational health hazard.

Many items and compounds that produce ionizing and non-ionizing radiation are regulated by Federal, State and International Governments due to their hazardous nature and need for control via licensing or registration. Other forms of non-ionizing radiation may have safety guidelines published by non-governmental scientific bodies such as, but not limited to, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), the International Committee of Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) and the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH).

A Radiation Safety Office resides within the Research Safety Bureau in Environmental Health and Safety; part of the Division of Law Enforcement and Safety. The Office is staffed by the Radiation Safety Officer (RSO) for the University, and two Environmental Health Managers that are responsible for maintaining licenses and registrations for the University to legally possess and use hazardous forms of ionizing radiation that are controlled by the State of South Carolina Division of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC). Radiation Safety Office (Office) staff also advise Principal Investigators (PIs), graduate and undergraduate students and others in the safe use of ionizing and non-ionizing radiation for research and other purposes. The Office also consults with PIs and students to develop efficient and cost effective methods for radioactive material waste disposal.

The use of hazardous forms of ionizing and non-ionizing radiation is overseen by the University’s Radiation Safety Committee (refer to the Radiation Safety Committee page). The committee must control procurement and use of radioactive material and complete safety evaluations for all uses of radioactive material that include a review of facilities, equipment, user training and experience to ensure that radiation doses to students, faculty, staff, visitors and the general public remain as low as reasonably achievable and within regulatory requirements. The University possesses a Type A Broad Scope Research and Development license issued by DHEC for use of radioactive material.

To promote safety per published guidelines and/or regulations, the committee also oversees the usage of scientific equipment containing X-ray tubes, Class 3B and 4 lasers, unenclosed hazardous forms of visible, ultraviolet and/or infrared light, and devices that generate magnetic fields in occupied spaces above 5 Gauss.

Radiation Safety Office staff are here to advise any University faculty, staff or students who needs to purchase and/or use material or equipment listed above. Please contact us before purchasing and or using ionizing and/or non-ionizing materials or equipment; we will be happy to work with you to ensure your research needs involving these materials or equipment can be conducted in a safe manner and in compliance with all governing regulations.