Worker Overexposure

On November 1, three workers were involved in separating sources, shielded containers, and trash from a barrel. Work was being conducted in a ventilated enclosure within a PEcoS waste processing building. Two workers inside the enclosure were wearing respirators and the supervisor, who was not wearing a respirator, was immediately outside the enclosure directing the work. At the end of the day, the supervisor noted he was contaminated. The supervisor was scheduled for whole-body counting at the Battelle facility early the next day. An uptake of approximately 432.9 Bq (11.7 nanocuries) of Am- 241 was confirmed. The preliminary dose estimate to the individual's lung was 0.975 Sv (97.5 rem) Committed Dose Equivalent. The regulatory limit for occupational workers is 0.5 Sv (50 rem). The individual was started on chelation treatment. The other two workers were sent for whole body counting on November 3. The operation included opening one lead container that contained three Am-241 sources. Contamination previously had not been detected outside the lead container or in the trash. Sources were surveyed for dose rate and separated from the lead container without contamination smears being taken. No release to the public or the environment occurred. Operations in this and adjacent areas were stopped once the situation was known. An investigation was initiated by PEcoS. The area was evacuated and is currently being ventilated. Department of Health has an inspector on-site performing an incident investigation.

Location: Pacific EcoSolutions
Event date: Wed, 01-11-2006
Nuclear event report
Legenda & explanation