CLASSE Safety Handbook

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Pregnant Workers and Radiation Exposure

Because the human fetus has rapidly dividing cells and is highly sensitive to ionizing radiation, pregnant women should pay special attention to minimizing their ionizing radiation exposure. While CLASSE has developed a comprehensive Radiation Safety program of radiation monitoring, education, shielding, access controls, interlocks, and signage, it is nevertheless prudent for a pregnant worker at CLASSE to gather relevant information and understand the extra precautions available. To that end, CLASSE will provide confidential counseling and services upon request by any worker who is pregnant, or thinks she may be pregnant, and is concerned about exposure to radiation. The CLASSE Safety Director, CLASSE Safety Manager and/or the CHESS Safety Officer will generally provide these services, although with advance notice, counseling by a qualified staff member of the University Environment, Health and Safety Department can be arranged.

Topics for discussion and services include:
  • Potential effects of radiation on a developing fetus.
  • Badging requirements and dose limits from section 8.3 of the University Radiation Safety Manual.
  • Historical radiation dose rates for relevant area badges and surveys, and typical personal badge readings for those sharing the individual's work area.
  • Location and operation of radiation monitoring and accelerator interlocks in the individual's work area.
  • Radiation survey of the individual's work area.
  • Issuance of a dosimeter that will provide real-time readings for the individual's use.
  • Instruction on use of a survey meter for real-time monitoring.
  • The choice that a badgeholder has, at her discretion, to declare a pregnancy, which, if made, requires issuance of a fetal badge set.
  • Whether or not a pregnancy is declared, a fetal badge set can be supplied if requested by the badgeholder with sufficient advance notice. This set consists of a control badge (which should not be worn), a whole-body badge (which should be worn between the neck and waist), and a fetal monitoring badge (which is placed over the abdomen, and, when not worn, stored with the control badge). If confidentiality is desired, the fetal monitoring badge may be worn underneath clothing, and when not worn, the control and fetal badges should be stored separately from other badges.
  • All counseling and services are confidential. Identifying information will be limited to the few staff members with a need to know. The name of anyone receiving such services will not be posted in any widely accessible written or electronic logs.

Topic revision: r9 - 25 Apr 2023, RigelLochner
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