OSHA Field Safety and Health Management System (SHMS) Manual


  1. Purpose

    The purpose of this chapter is to provide guidance on the protection of OSHA employees from the effect of occupational exposure to ionizing and non-ionizing radiation.

  2. Scope

    To the extent feasible, OSHA employees must avoid exposure to radiation hazards. In situations where exposure cannot be avoided, the guidelines described herein must be followed. Potential exposures will be evaluated by actual monitoring or through the use of other data such as employer-provided measurements.

  3. Definitions
    1. Ionizing Radiation. Electromagnetic radiation and/or electrically charged or neutral particles which will interact with gases, liquids, or solids to produce ions. Examples include x-rays, gamma rays, protons, neutrons, and alpha particles.

    2. Non-ionizing Radiation. Electromagnetic radiation with insufficient energy to produce ionization of atoms. Non-ionizing radiation energy usually is transformed into heat. Examples include microwaves, television and radio waves, visible light, infrared and ultraviolet radiation, and laser radiation.

  4. Responsibilities
    1. The responsible OSHA Manager(s) is responsible for:

      1. Ensuring that OSHA employees under their supervision follow the radiation safety guidelines included in this chapter in their respective offices.

      2. Ensuring that appropriate protective devices, practices and personal protective equipment are provided and used.

      3. Ensuring that the appropriate measuring devices (such as badges) are provided and used.

      4. Ensuring that their employees are trained per paragraph V.B. of this chapter.

    2. All OSHA employees are responsible for:

      1. Using appropriate protective methods and equipment while working in areas where potential exposure to harmful ionizing and non-ionizing radiation may occur.

      2. Using prudent investigative practices to identify and determine levels of radiation at the work site in conjunction with following the site’s safety procedures for minimizing exposure to radiation.

      3. Identifying site-specific safety and health procedures for protection against, or minimizing exposure to radiation, and follow those procedures.

      4. Participating in required training.

  5. Procedures
    1. Radiation safety guidelines. The following radiation safety guidelines will be adhered to by OSHA employees when the potential for exposure ionizing and/or non-ionizing radiation exists.

      1. On site procedures

        1. Review the work site radiation safety program, if available, and Emergency Action or Preparedness Plan, where applicable.

        2. Identify all known potential sources of radiation and assess the hazards using site-supplied data as well as measurements obtained by OSHA employees.

        3. If it has been determined that there are potentially harmful radiation sources, contact the Salt Lake City Laboratory or the Cincinnati Technical Center for sampling procedures and appropriate self-monitoring equipment (e.g. TLD badges, neutron badges, other surveying instrumentation) for determining the personal exposure levels of OSHA employees.

        4. Evaluate work site hazard controls for effectiveness.

        5. Determine the best means of minimizing exposure to the radiation hazard using source shielding and distance as the primary methods of protection. Limiting the duration of exposure will only be employed as a last resort for controlling a radiation hazard to which OSHA employees may be exposed, and even then, only with the consent of the responsible OSHA Manager(s). OSHA employees will avoid direct exposure to the “beam” of radiation emitted by a source.

        6. As Class 3b and 4 lasers can pose a serious hazard to the eyes, determine the type of eye protection to use wherever engineering controls are not feasible or where there is a likelihood of exposure to the beam.

        7. Consult the Health Response Team, through the responsible OSHA Manager(s), for additional technical assistance.

      2. Appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) use determination

        1. Review the employer’s radiation safety program and PPE requirements, including the PPE hazard assessment.

        2. Determine appropriate PPE and personal monitoring needed, based on the source and type of radiation.

        3. Select and use appropriate PPE (shielding, equipment, work clothing) to minimize radiation exposure. If such equipment is not available at the work site or at the OSHA office, then the responsible OSHA Manager(s) will be immediately consulted before taking any action that may present further exposure to radiation.

    2. Training program. OSHA employees will be trained annually in the following:

      1. The effects of radiation exposure.

      2. Types of ionizing and non-ionizing radiation.

      3. Types of workers occupationally exposed to radiation.

      4. Appropriate monitoring devices, control measures and PPE for radiation exposure.

      5. Methods of minimizing exposure to ionizing and non-ionizing radiation.

      6. Recommended safety procedures to be implemented during walkaround.

    3. Recordkeeping

      1. All results of testing related to radiation exposure will be maintained by the Office of Occupational Medicine and will be available to employees upon request.

      2. All training records will be maintained at the field office.