Have you returned your personal dosimeters? Why it’s so important.
by Thomas Cummings

Personal dosimeters (radiation monitoring badges) are used by employees and students to gauge the levels of radiation, if any, to which they are exposed.  The badges are sent to a contracted company to be read; then, the Radiation Safety Office (RSO) evaluates the readings to verify that exposures are safely below regulatory limits.  This is the most important reason for returning all badges to the RSO at the designated end of the wear period: the longer a radiation dosimeter remains unread, the less useful it becomes as a tool for evaluating an individual’s radiation exposure level.  Another reason is that the RSO is billed when badges are not returned in a timely manner- within 30 days - resulting in increased program cost. 

The RSO must be notified in writing if your badge is lost, stolen, if you move into another department or if you are planning to leave your job.  The “Employee Changes/Cancellations Form” is located on our website at http://ehs.columbia.edu/RadiationFormsMC.html, and must be submitted to the RSO in person or by email to badges@columbia.edu.  Your badge will be deactivated, and an accurate, updated list of current badge users can be maintained.  You should also return dosimeters that are old or outdated, even if they are for someone who is no longer with the institution.
When wearing dosimeters:

  • Report lost badges & fill out a lost badge form
  • Indicate deletions on the packing list that is enclosed with the badges
  • Inform RSO of badge coordinator changes
  • Wear badges during procedures involving radioactivity or x-rays

Do Not:

  • Share badges or discard badges
  • Use your Columbia badge at another institution or wear a badge from elsewhere at Columbia
  • Bring badges home – they are meant as an occupational monitor

The most recent dosimetry reports are to be posted in every department by the supervisor or badge coordinator in an area where employees can view their exposure levels.  For further questions about your badges or personal dosimetry in general please email badges@columbia.edu or call the RSO at 212-305-0303.

Let’s Barbecue - The Safe Way by Terrence Jaimungal

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, warm weather activities such as barbequing lead to product-related injuries for more than 3.7 million people annually.  But with just a few simple, precautionary steps, you can ensure a safe cookout, every time:

  • Keep grills at least ten feet from any structure, or any combustible material and NEVERgrill on a building roof.  Accidental dropping of hot coals may cause a roof fire capable of spreading into the attic or top floor of the building.
  • NEVER grill indoors.  Grills generate carbon monoxide which may result in asphyxiation.
  • The New York City Fire Code states that a minimum of two 2 1/2 gallon pressurized water extinguishers, a sixteen quart pail of water, or a charged water hose must be present during grill use.
  • Columbia University policy requires the use of “Match Light” for all charcoal grill use on campus.  If you use lighter fluid at home, never add it to coals that are already lit. 

The safe use of gas grills requires some additional considerations:

  • Propane cylinders may not be transported into New York City via tunnels or lower levels of bridges.  It is illegal to carry more than one pound of propane into or through a house in New York City.  Propane tanks may not be refilled within New York City limits.
  • If you must transport your propane tank for any purpose, be sure you choose a relatively cool day.  Any grill parts in a hot car will cause an increase in the pressure of the gas, which could cause an explosion.
  • Keep propane tanks upright, and move hoses away from dripping grease and hot surfaces.
  • NEVER use cigarettes, lighters, or matches near your gas grill, whether it's in use or not. You can't be sure that there's not a slight gas leak somewhere in the unit, so it's always better to be safe than sorry.
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