In Canada, the packaging and labeling of radioactive shipments are governed by the CNSC's Transport Packaging of Radioactive Materials regulations. Most radioisotopes are shipped as excepted Packages or as Type A packages.
Any package shipped as "Excepted Package or as Type A Package must have the limited activity indicated as such by the shipper on the shipping documentation and the word "radioactive" must be visible on the package. All other packages must be categorized by radiation level and display radiation warning labels as follows:
Category I - The radiation level does not exceed 5 µSv/h at any location on the external surface of the package.
Category II - The radiation level does not exceed 500 µSv/h at any location on the external surface of the package and the transport index does not exceed 1.0.
Category III - The radiation level does not exceed 2 mSv/h at any location on the external surface of the package and the transport index does not exceed 10.
The transport index (TI) for a package is the maximum radiation level in microsieverts per hour (µSv/h) at 1 m from the external surface of the package, divided by 10.
Example: 1 µSv/h = 0.1 mrem/h or TI = 0.1 TI
At McGill University, radioactive packages are delivered to the laboratory by private courier service or by in-house delivery to the recipient. No matter the delivery process there are safe work procedures that must be respected. They include:
- Inspect packages for damage or leakage immediately upon receipt.
- Wear a lab coat and deposable gloves while handling the package.
- Place the package in a fume hood.
- Monitor the radiation field around the package using a radiation survey and compare the units stated on the package.
- Wipe test the exterior of the package for removable surface contamination. Remove the packaging slip.
- Open the outer package and check for possible damage to the contents, broken seal or discoloration of packaging materials.
- Wipe test the interior packaging.
- Remove the inner package or primary container, monitor the radiation field and wipe-test the container.
- Avoid direct contact with unshielded containers.
- Verify the radioisotope, the activity and other details with the information on the packaging slip and with the purchase order.
- Log the radioisotope, activity and date received in Rair web/RTS or by another type of inventory record.
- Report any anomalies (contamination leakage, incomplete or wrong shipment) immediately to the Permit Holder or Radiation Safety Officer for notification to the CNSC. See appendix E.