Over Exposure of an Operator From a Puncture Wound During Work in an Active Glovebox

Print View Posted on: 26 April 2017

Event Date: 05 February 2017 Event Type: Fuel Reprocessing
Event Location: United Kingdom, Sellafield INES Rating: 2 (Final)

Routine glovebox work was taking place to empty a glovebox sump to clear a level alarm.
The operator's first action used the normal plant methods; no equipment is removed from the sump to do this.
As the alarm did not clear, the operator proceeded to remove and clean the probe, a task that the operator had performed
before. The probe as supplied has to be adjusted to the correct length followed by making the item ‘glovebox ready’.
This includes the removal of any sharp edges.
After removal and cleaning and upon replacing the probe a cable became entangled which prevented the probe assembly seating correctly. During the action of removing this cable the operator felt a sharp pain and immediately called Health Physics.
This action resulted in a wound which has caused an internal radiation exposure.
The operator was wearing two pairs of latex gloves and was using a standard ambidextrous glove to carry out the removal and cleaning of the sump probe. No additional protection was being worn as this particular task would not require additional protection (i.e. cut resistance gloves) as the probe should not have any sharp edges.
A follow up monitoring assessment by Health Physics a few weeks after the initial injury identified a small point of contamination which required further medical intervention to remove the contamination.
A provisional assessment has been undertaken and a dose estimate produced. This dose assessment indicates that the
individual has received an internal dose of approximately 80 mSv, which is four times the equivalent annual limit for whole body effective dose of 20 mSv.

INES Rating: 2 - Incident (Final) as per 26 April 2017
Release beyond authorized limits? No
Overexposure of a member of the public? No
Overexposure of a worker? Yes

Contamination spread within the facility? No
Damage to radiological barriers (incl. fuel damage) within the facility? No

Degradation of Defence In-Depth No

Person injured physically or casualty? No
Is there a continuing problem? No

Iain Gray
Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR)

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