Database of radiological incidents and related events--Johnston's Archive

Harmarville irradiator accident, 1967

compiled by Wm. Robert Johnston
last modified 26 October 2008

Date: 4 October 1967

Location: Harmarville, Pennsylvania, USA

Type of event: accident at industrial irradiator


A failure of interlocks on an industrial accelerator-type irradiator exposed three people to doses of 125-600 rem. The accident occurred at the Gulf Research Laboratory in Harmarville, near Pittsburgh. One worker received a 600-rem whole body dose, plus localized doses of 6600 rad to the feet and legs and 8800 rad to the hands and forearms. His hands and feet had to be amputated, but he survived largely due to a bone marrow transplant from his identical twin. Doses to the other workers were 300 rad and 125 rad. All three workers were protected from infection during recovery by reverse isolation.

Consequences: 3 injuries.


© 2004, 2007, 2008 by Wm. Robert Johnston.
Last modified 26 October 2008.
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