The Radiation Safety Procedures Manual gives detailed instructions on what to do in the event of a release involving radioactive material. Basic instructions include the following:
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- At IUPUI, contact the Radiation Safety Office at 317-274-4797. Other campuses may contact the Office of Environmental Health and Safety.
- Notify everyone in the area of the release and limit access.
- Prevent the spread of contamination (e.g. cover with absorbent paper/chucks).
- All individuals involved should remain in the area until monitored for contamination.
If the biological spill poses an inhalation hazard, do not attempt to handle the spill. Environmental Health and Safety -Biological Safety will assume responsibility for the situation. If the microorganism does not pose an inhalation threat and you are qualified and comfortable cleaning up the spill, proceed to the next step. If you are unclear if the spill represents an inhalation hazard always treat it as it is an inhalation hazard.
Cover the area of the spill with absorbent pads or towels, and carefully pour disinfectant around the spill. Because the volume of the spill will dilute the disinfectant, a concentrated disinfectant should be used. Allow at least a 20-minute contact time. Note: Pick up any visible sharp objects with tongs and discard in a sharps container (Never use your hands to pick up sharp items).
Read the complete spill procedures in the IU Biosafety Manual
ALL spills of biological materials, regardless of biosafety level, shall be reported to the Environmental Health & Safety department for the respective campus. Extremely large spills should be initially reported to the IUPD.
Gas leaks or releases
If a compressed gas cylinder or gas piping is leaking or is suspected of leaking or if there is any other known or suspected gas release, and if a person knowledgeable about the source decides that it is hazardous to them or to other building occupants, the following steps should be taken:
- Immediately notify building occupants to evacuate the area using general evacuation procedures.
- Contact IUPD at 911 and be prepared to provide the following information:
- Building name
- Floor and room number
- Specific chemical name of involved gas
- Source of the gas
Unusual or abnormal odors
When reporting an unusual or abnormal odor, be prepared to provide the following information:
- Description of odor (e.g. natural gas odor).
- Time(s) of detection.
- Abnormal conditions, activities, or materials at the time of detection (e.g. construction activities).
If the source associated with the odor is potentially hazardous to persons in the area (e.g. natural gas), contact IUPD at 911. For other common or unknown odors, follow the specific procedures listed below:
Natural gas smells - Immediately leave the area and contact the IU Police Department at 911.
Rotten egg or sewer smells - These odors typically occur when a drain trap dries out. If the odor is moderate, run water down nearby sinks and check to see if the odor dissipates. If the odor is strong or persists after refilling drains traps, the employee should contact Physical Plant or Campus Facilities Services to report the odor.
Fishy or musty smells - These odors often result from leaks in the steam system. The employee should contact Environmental Health and Safety to report the odor.
Exhaust or diesel smells - These odors typically enter a building through air intakes when motor vehicles or construction equipment are left idling nearby. These odors are normally dependent on the wind direction and typically last for a short duration. If this type of odor persists, the employee should contact Environmental Health and Safety to report the odor.
If the employee has additional concerns or questions about these or any other unknown odors, contact Environmental Health and Safety to report the odor.