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Radiation protection - electron microscope

These guidelines specify responsibilities for procurement, use and maintenance of electron microscopes.

Norsk versjon - Strålevern - elektronmikroskop

Subject page about HSE | Pages labelled radiation protection

About electron microscopes #

In an electron microscope, an electron beam is sent from a filament. X-rays are created when the electron beam hits an object. The electron microscope is mainly used to take pictures of objects and element compositions. The beam is encapsulated.

Distribution of responsibility #

Line manager #

The line manager has the superior responsibility for radiation protection at the unit. The line manager should take care of the tasks described in Radiation protection – responsibility and task delegation.

The line manager should appoint a person with academic responsibility, and possibly also a person with instrument responsibility, for the unit's electron microscope.

Academic responsibility #

The person with academic responsibility for the electron microscope should take care of the tasks described in Radiation protection – responsibility and task delegation.

When using the electron microscope, the person with academic responsibility should also:

  • Determine whether it is necessary to appoint a person with instrument responsibility for electron microscopes, and if so, appoint someone for this role (with a substitute, if necessary). The person with academic responsibility should assess whether the candidates for this role have the qualifications to have the instrument responsibility. If a person with instrument responsibility is not appointed, the person with academic responsibility look after these tasks themselves.
  • Inform the local radiation protection coordinator of all procurements, movements and disposals of electron microscopes.
  • Carry out a risk assessment as described in the guideline Radiation protection – responsibility and task delegation.
  • Make sure that all electron microscopes, or the room in which the instrument is located, has adequate labels and signs.
  • Inform outsiders in the workplace (cleaning personnel, craftsmen and others) about the electron microscope's most important properties and hazards, cleaning procedures, warning sign meanings, contact information etc.
  • Carry out regular control measurements.
  • Determine whether the users have the necessary qualifications to function as authorized users of the unit's electron microscope.
  • Protect the electron microscope against sabotage, fire and water damage.

Instrument responsibility #

The person with instrument responsibility should:

  • Report procurements, movements and disposals of electron microscopes to the person with academic responsibility, as well as the the local and central radiation protection coordinators.
  • Perform necessary service on the electron microscope. The operations engineer or technical personnel can perform service as scheduled with the person with instrument responsibility.
  • Give users training in operating the electron microscope.
  • Keep a log (possibly an electronic log) for the electron microscope.
  • Create and maintain an information folder for the electron microscope.
  • Keep operating instructions and a list of users for each instrument.
  • Make sure that each instrument is correctly labelled and has the necessary signs.
  • Assess the risk of different types of service work and smaller changes that are made on the instruments.
  • Initiate internal procedures for control of possible radiation leakage.

Local radiation protection coordinator #

The local radiation protection coordinator should take care of the tasks described in the guideline Radiation protection – responsibility and task delegation.

Electron microscopes are subject to a notification requirement in accordance with section 13 in the Regulations on Radiation Protection and Use of Radiation

Log #

Each electron microscope must have a log or electronic log containing:

  • Services and significant changes in the instrument setup.
  • Radiation measurements performed.

Information folder #

Each electron microscope must have an information folder with the following minimum of information required:

Apparatus data #

  • make, model, age, owner, serial number
  • amperage [mA], maximum peak voltage [kV]
  • labels in accordance with regulations

General information #

User instructions #

Operating instructions, safety precautions, logging, locking, use of radiation monitor (if applicable) etc.

Emergency procedures #

  • emergency procedures (fire, leaking water, radiation injuries etc.)
  • the procedures should describe how to correctly shut off the apparatus, that there is no radiation when the apparatus is shut down, radiation injury measures, contact information, reports
  • using images in the emergency procedures is encouraged
  • use posters with emergency procedures if needed: Locally and/or distributed to others (e.g. maintenance staff)
  • assess whether the emergency procedures should also be available in English

Authorized users #

Authorized users must have adequate qualifications to independently assess and use the electron microscope in a safe way. Adequate qualifications mean: Instrument specific knowledge about startup procedures, instrument settings, safety functions, shutdown, emergency procedures (if applicable) contents of the information folder, radiation measurements (if applicable) etc.

Other users #

Other users may use the electron microscope in agreement with authorized users or the person with instrument responsibility.

Labels and signs #

The electron microscope must be labelled in accordance with chapter 5 of the Workplace Regulation. Use the standard sign for "danger – electric current" with the added text "danger – high voltage".

Sign: danger – high voltage

Some electron microscopes have ion pumps with magnetic fields that can have an unfortunate effect on pacemakers. These electron microscopes must have labels that indicate the safety distance for persons with pacemakers. The correct safety distance should be specified in the instrument user manual.

The labels should be in Norwegian. Corresponding information can be given in other languages as needed.

Physical barriers #

All radiation sources must be secured against theft, sabotage and damages from fire or water. Rooms or areas containing electron microscopes should have access limitations. Technical measures that prevent theft and sabotage and keep microscopes safe from damages from for example fire or water must be implemented. 

Control measurements #

In accordance with section 24, paragraph a) in the Regulations on Radiation Protection and Use of Radiation, the electron microscope should be screened to make sure that the dose rate on the surface does not exceed 5 μSv/t.

Measure the radiation dose to the near surroundings (except the direct beam) at least once a year, after servicing and after significant changes in the instrument settings. Record the results in the instrument log. Use a radiation monitor adapted to the properties of the radiation. You can contact the local or central radiation protection coordinator the schedule a measurement.

Help #

List of independent users of electron microscopes (in Norwegian)

Approval as an independent user of electron microscopes (in Norwegian) / x-ray machines

Checklist for risk walkthrough before using an electron microscope / x-ray machine (in Norwegian)

Regulations – NTNU and others #

Legislation #

Contact #

Approval/signature #

Approved by the Director of HSE – 20 November 2015 – HMSR64E

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