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3.11.2 Type of documentation

Contents
3.11.2.1 Field operation records
3.11.2.2 Laboratory records
3.11.2.3 Data Handling Records

Three types of documentation should be assessed:

  1. Field operation records;
  2. Laboratory records;
  3. Data handling records [EPA-1997a].

3.11.2.1 Field operation records

The information contained in these records documents overall field operations and generally consists of the following:

  • Field measurement records. These records show that the proper measurement protocol was performed in the field. At a minimum, this documentation should include the names of the persons conducting the activity, measurement identification, measurement locations, measurement results, maps and diagrams, equipment and standard operation procedures used, and unusual observations. Bound field notebooks are generally used to record raw data and make references to prescribed procedures and changes in planned activities. Data recording forms might also be used. A document control system should be used for these records to control attributes such as formatting to include pre-numbered pages with date and signature lines.
  • Sample tracking records. Sample tracking records (e.g., chain-of-custody) document the progression of samples as they travel from the original sampling location to the laboratory and finally to disposal.
  • Quality control measurement records. Quality control measurement records document the performance of quality control measurements in the field. These records should include calibration and standards’ traceability documentation that can be used to provide a reproducible reference point to which all similar measurements can be correlated. Quality control measurement records should contain information on the frequency, conditions, level of standards, and instrument calibration history.
  • Personnel files. Personnel files record the names and training certificates of the staff collecting the data.
  • General field procedures. General field procedures (e.g., standard operation procedures) record the procedures used in the field to collect data and outline potential areas of difficulty in performing measurements.
  • Deficiency and problem identification reports. These reports document problems and deficiencies encountered as well as suggestions for process improvement.
  • Corrective action reports. Corrective action reports show what methods were used in cases where general field practices or other standard procedures were violated and include the methods used to resolve non-compliance.

h4 3.11.2.2 Laboratory records

The following list describes some of the laboratory-specific records that should be compiled if available and appropriate:

  • Laboratory measurement results and sample data. These records contain information on the sample analysis used to verify that prescribed analytical methods were followed. The overall number of samples, sample identification, sample measurement results, any deviations from the standard operation procedures, time of day, and date should be included. Sample location information might also be provided.
  • Sample management records. Sample management records should document sample receipt, handling and storage, and scheduling of analyses. The records will verify that sample tracking requirements were maintained, reflect any anomalies in the samples (e.g., receipt of damaged samples), and note proper log-in of samples into the laboratory.
  • Test methods. Unless analyses were performed exactly as prescribed by standard operation procedures, this documentation will describe how the analyses were carried out in the laboratory. This documentation includes sample preparation and analysis, instrument standardization, detection and reporting limits, and method-specific quality control requirements. Documentation demonstrating laboratory proficiency with each method used could also be a part of the data reporting package, particularly for subcontracted work.
  • Quality control measurement records. These include the general quality control records, such as initial demonstration of capability, instrument calibration, routine monitoring of analytical performance, calibration verification, etc., for selecting a radio-analytical laboratory. Project-specific information from the quality control checks such as blanks, spikes, calibration check samples, replicates, splits, and so on should be included in these reports to facilitate data quality analysis.
  • Deficiency and problem identification reports. These reports document problems and deficiencies encountered as well as suggestions for process improvement.
  • Corrective action reports. Corrective action reports show what methods were used in cases where general laboratory practices or other standard procedures were violated and include the methods used to resolve non-compliance. Corrective action procedures to replace samples violating the standard operation procedures also should be noted.

3.11.2.3 Data Handling Records

Data handling records document protocols used in data reduction, verification, and validation. Data reduction addresses data transformation operations such as converting raw data into reportable quantities and units, using significant figures, calculating measurement uncertainties, etc. The records document procedures for handling data corrections.