Question: What precautions must be taken in order to handle radioactive materials safely?
All radioactive materials must be labelled and stored securely to prevent accidental exposure.
The name of the Isotope and the type or radiation emitted must be on the label.
The Ionising radiation warning symbol must be displayed. See below:
The symbol on the left is the original warning sign for ionising radiation and the symbol on the right is a new symbol that was designed to make it possible for the label to still carry a meaningful warning to people in the future even if they have forgotten the meaning of the label on the left (you do only need to know the yellow/first one).
Alpha sources are only really dangerous if they enter the body, because even air stops the radiation.
So source of Alpha radiation, are handled safely be avoiding ingestion, inhalation and contamination of skin or food etc..
Tongs and gloves can prevent contamination of skin and glove boxes can prevent inhalation risk.
Beta sources are more dangerous, but protective clothing can block the radiation.
Gamma source, have to be kept behind lead shielding and avoided by distancing yourself from the source.
Irradiation risk from Gamma sources are reduced by shortening the time of any exposure