Overexposure of a worker

A laboratory worker was contaminated with I-131 in a radiopharmaceutical company on February 28 2013. The worker was wearing two pairs of gloves and, when changing gloves, had noticed a break in the right inner glove, but not any obvious break in the outer latex glove. Only 3-4 hours later, routine monitoring revealed heavy contamination of the dorsal part of the right hand. Immediate actions to decontaminate the hand were undertaken on site. On the next day, besides persisting heavy contami-nation of the hand, activity was also found in the thyroid gland, and the Finnish Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK) was notified. Stable iodine had not been administered.
Based on original measurements on site and later follow-up at STUK, including surface contamination measurements and whole body counting, the original activity of the hand was estimated at 11 MBq and the equivalent skin dose at 25 Sv, affecting an area of about 10 cm2. The estimated equivalent dose to the thyroid was 430 mGy and the estimated effective dose 22 mSv.
On her first visit at STUK, the worker was advised to wear a glove and change it frequently in order to protect the surrounding and promote decontamination by sweating and washing. Three days later little activity was left in the hand. 11 days after the incident the skin was dry and slightly desquamating. After 15 days the skin was intact with no desquamation left. No further signs of skin damage have occurred.

Location: Jyväskylä
Event date: Thu, 28-02-2013
Nuclear event report
Legenda & explanation