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Study Notes: Hazards Associated with the use of the LSC

Liquid Scintillation Counting (LS Counting) is a laboratory-based technique that uses a Liquid Scintillation Counter (LSC) to count the radioactive emissions from a liquid sample. The LSC is an electronic device with a conveyor assembly to move vials in and out of the counting chamber.

Hazards associated with its use include:

Electrical Hazard As for all pieces of electrical equipment in the laboratory.
Fire Hazard As for all pieces of electrical equipment in the laboratory, the equipment may catch fire if there is an electrical short.
Lifting/Back Hazard The operator must place the racks into the LSC and then fill these racks with LS vials.
Finger Jamming Hazard In lid and in conveyor assembly.
Bump Injury Hazard Parts of the apparatus have sharp edges that may cause bruising if walked into.
Trip Injury The LSC is interfaced with a computer and a printer. Connecting leads may present a trip injury.
Eye Strain Computer Screen.
Radiation Hazard Samples may contain high 3H and/or 35S activities.
Chemical Hazard Samples from Parwhil are in an unspecified buffered and potentially infectious solution. The LS Cocktail contains injurious chemicals including toluene.
Drop Injury Computer or printer components may cause injuries if they fall off a bench.

The key to safe and effective use of the LSC is:

  • Training of staff in:
    • LSC Operation
    • Radiation Safety

  • Proper Radiation PPE, which for this level of radioactivity includes:
    • Laboratory coat
    • Film badge worn on laboratory coat at the level of the genitals (most at risk)
    • Proper footwear
    • Double latex gloves
    • Safety glasses.
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