Radiation Protection Program

The Principal of Queen's University has appointed the University Radiation Safety Committee to carry out the advisory responsibilities for the overall operation of the University Radiation Safety Program. The Queen's University Radiation Safety policy requires that all activities involving radiation or devices emitting ionizing radiation be conducted so as to keep hazards from radiation to a minimum. The university is committed to ensuring that all exposures are kept as low as reasonably achievable.

The purpose of the Radiation Safety Policy and Procedures is to ensure the safe and knowledgeable use of radiation sources and devices in research and teaching at the University and will apply to all activities which utilize radioisotopes and radiation emitting devices including:

  • University teaching programs and University research projects;
  • Research involving the use of University facilities;
  • Research funded by other agencies through the University;
  • Any other projects that the Committee deems are within the jurisdiction of the Committee.

Radiation Policies and Procedures

For specific x-ray information and assistance contact EHS and request the Radiation Safety Officer

It is the policy of Queen's University that all activities involving ionizing radiation or radiation emitting devices be conducted so as to keep hazards from radiation to a minimum.

Persons involved in these activities are expected to comply fully with the Canadian Nuclear Safety Act and all its regulations, with the Occupational Health and Safety Act and its regulations regarding X ray sources, lasers and sound.

Queen's University Health & Safety Policy requires conformance to health and safety regulations and standards. The Queen's University Laser Safety Program is provided to assist members of the university community to conform to the requirements of the Ontario Ministry of Labour, ANSI Z136.1- 2014 and related regulations and standards.

The Laser Safety Program applies to all persons: employees, students and visitors operating or working in proximity to Class 3b or Class 4 lasers.  Persons included under this program are identified as Laser Workers. All components of the program are to be completed before a laser worker starts work.

Laser Registration

Laser Pointer Safety

Laser pointers have become common tools in the workplace. Most often laser pointers are used as a substitute for the retractable metal pointer used during lectures or presentations. Laser pointers can also be found in many power tools and levels.

Hand-held laser pointers are very popular in Canada. Unfortunately, users are not knowledgeable about the intensity of the light and the effect it may have on the eyes.


Laser technology was first developed in the 1960s and has grown to touch our lives in may ways. We use laser technology in space-age medical equipment, office printers and light shows at rock concerts.

A laser is the strongest source of light ever created by scientists. The beam that comes out of a simple hand-held laser pointer is at least a million times brighter than the average light bulb in your home.

The letters in "laser" stand for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation.

Concern about Laser Pointers

There pointers are not dangerous when used with care, but the brightness of laser light can damage the eyes of anyone who looks directly into the beam for more than a minute and a half.

A split-second look can result in a condition called flash blindness. This is similar to the effect you get during flash photography, where the image of the flash remains in your eyes for a few seconds, and then fades away.

Flash blindness is temporary. Your vision returns to normal after a few moments, and there are no long-term effects. However, a longer look can cause serious damage to your eyes. It's worse if the laser beam is being projected through a piece of optical equipment, such as a telescope or a pair of binoculars. In these situations, the laser beam could actually burn a tiny spot, or cut open a blood vessel, on the retina at the back of your eye. In a worst-case scenario, you could go blind.

Use Common Sense

Laser pointers are not toys. Use them with caution, and only for their intended purpose. By following a few guidelines you can make sure no one gets hurt by a laser pointer.

  • When buying a laser pointer, choose one that is labeled Class II and operates with a wavelength between 630 nm and 680 nm. Maximum output should be less than 5m watts.
  • Choose one that has a clear warning on the label about the potential to cause eye damage. Read the instructions carefully, and follow them closely.
  • Choose a laser pointer that stays on only when you apply pressure with your fingers. That way you can never leave the beam on bu accident.
  • Never point a laser beam at anyone, and never look directly into the beam yourself.
  • Never aim a laser pointer at surfaces that would reflect the light back, such as mirrors or mirrored surfaces.
  • Never leave a laser pointer where children might get their hands on it.

For specific laser information and assistance contact EHS and request the Radiation Safety Officer

It is the policy of Queen's University that all activities involving ionizing radiation or radiation emitting devices be conducted so as to keep hazards from radiation to a minimum. Persons involved in any activities involving X-rays are expected to comply fully with the Ontario Regulation for X-ray Safety (Reg. 263/84), under the Occupational Health and Safety Act. The Queen's University X-Ray Safety Program is provided to assist members of the university community to conform with these requirements.

The possession, use and disposition of an X-ray machine is subject to the conditions specified in the R.R.O. 1990, Regulation 861 X-Ray Safety. 

An X-ray machine or source cannot be used at a workplace unless the employer is registered with the Ministry Office. 

If you are planning to use an X-ray source, we must register and receive approval from the Radiation Protection Service (RPS) before installing and using:

  • a new X-ray source in a permanent location
  • an X-ray source that is designed for portable or mobile use, that is regularly installed or used in one location

The registration process should start before purchasing or installing the machine.

Queen's Radiation Safety Officer (RSO)is responsible for reviewing and submitting all applications upon receiving from the person requiring the machine the following documentation:

  • Instrument manufacturer manual
  • Operational procedure
  • Intended use including duration, time of exposure and weekly frequency
  • Proposed location

An inspection to the laboratory or area where the machine will be installed will be conducted before and after the installation to verify all permit conditions have been met.  

Please use the X-Ray Registration form to register a new X-ray source.


For the disposal of an x-ray machine, the RSO shall observe the instructions provided by the manufacturer in the product manual or contact the manufacturer for information and guidance. 

In a case where a manufacturer is no longer in the business of manufacturing, selling, or servicing industrial x-ray equipment, the following procedures shall be followed:

  • the vacuum in the x-ray tube must be breached.
  • the x-ray tube window should be investigated to determine whether or not it contains beryllium, and if it does, special disposal procedures must apply since beryllium presents a toxic ingestion or inhalation hazard;
  • the transformer oil, if this exists, must be disposed of in accordance with pertinent environmental legislation; and
  • the lead must be recycled accordingly.

These steps will be taken by the department Radiation Safety Technician after completing the required Job Hazard Analysis.

All the information for an application, disposal or any questions related to X-Ray safety procedures can be sent to our office at the following addresses.

Jamie Coad | Department of Environmental Health & Safety

Safety Technician (Radiation & Chemical)

Queen’s University |355 King Street | 1st Floor, West Wing | Kingston, ON | K7L 2X3

Email: jamie.coad@queensu.ca

Phone: 613-533-6000 ext. 78358

Website: www.queensu.ca/risk/safety

Raico Laria-Lamela | Associate Director Biohazard Radiation and Chemical Safety

Queen’s Designated BSO-RSO-LSO

Department of Environmental Health and Safety

Queen’s University |355 King Street | 1st Floor, West Wing, Room 107 | Kingston, ON | K7L 2X3

Email: lamelar@queensu.ca

Phone: 613-533-6000 ext. 78820

Website: www.queensu.ca/risk/safety

Useful links

Registering X-Ray sources in the workplace | Ontario.ca

If there is an exposure incident for which you have a Standard Operating Procedure that indicates you should contact Walsh and Associates during normal business hours, contact their main office in Belleville at 613-966-4114.

  • Outside of those defined incident types, or if unable to contact Walsh and Associates, if there is an exposure incident requiring urgent medical attention then workers should go to the Kingston Health Sciences Centre – Kingston General Hospital (KHSC – KGH) Emergency. Location of the Emergency Room Entrance (Google Maps) at Kingston General Hospital.

Routine radiation or laser related matters:

Queen's employees and students working in or around laboratories with radiation or laser hazards may use the services of the Walsh and Associates Occupational Health Services clinic for routine matters such as:

  • respiratory assessments related to respirator use for those with certain medical conditions
  • eye screening (Central Field Testing using Amsler Charts) at the beginning and end of employment for Queen’s  employees who use 3b and 4 lasers
  • medical counselling as necessary for certain hazards for which a Queen’s SOP has been written

For more information, including how to make appointments or how to create an SOP for specific potential hazard exposure incidents, see the document describing Walsh and Associates Occupational Health Services. (PDF 471 KB)

These radiation safety data sheets provide information on various nuclear substances: their radiation characteristics, detection methods, preventive measures and annual limits on intake. The data sheets are intended to provide WHMIS equivalent information for nuclear substances, similar to that presented in Material Safety Data Sheets.

Open Source Isotopes Commonly used at Queen's

Other Isotopes

Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission - Radionuclide Information Booklet (PDF 1.28 MB)

Isotopes not included in above noted booklet

  • Iron-59 (PDF 51 KB)
  • Manganese-54 (PDF 50 KB)
  • Radium-226 **Contact EH&S
  • Thorium-232 **Contact EH&S
  • Uranium-234 235 238 **Contact EH&S