Hand contamination and overexposure of workers at a nuclear medical facility

During the dispensing of Flourine-18 vials for medical purposes two operators received radioactive contamination to their hands. The incident occurred in a radiopharmacy associated with a positron emission tomography (PET) scanning facility. The presence of Flourine-18 on the hands of two operators was noticed approximately 10 minutes after the dispensing operations had been completed.

The operators were only able to give limited information on the contamination levels on the skin as monitoring and decontamination times were not recorded during the incident. Dose estimates have been made using assumptions that were judged as conservative based on operator recollection and a spillage of 0.05 ml of Fluorine-18. The operators observed the contaminated areas for several days post exposure and did not report any skin erythema (skin reaction).

Based on the available information the best estimated equivalent doses to the skin of the hands were as follows:
Operator 1: 2,000 mSv
Operator 2: 2,000 mSv

The annual dose limit in the UK for extremities and skin is 500 mSv according to the relevant legislation. The circumstances surrounding this event are being further considered by the Health and Safety Executive of Great Britain.

Location: PET Scanning Facility, UK
Event date: Sun, 31-03-2019
Nuclear event report
Legenda & explanation