The Importance of Radiation Safety Training in the Workplace

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Radiation Safety Training should be in integral part of any company whose work puts employees, the environment and/or others at risk for radiation contamination or exposure.

According to the 2017 Ionizing Regulations Act:

Every employer must ensure that those of its employees who are engaged in work with ionizing radiation are given appropriate training in the field of radiation protection and receive such information and instruction as is suitable and sufficient for them to know:

  • the risks to health created by exposure to ionizing radiation
  • the radiation protection procedures and precautions which should be taken
  • the importance of complying with the medical, technical and administrative requirements of these Regulations

Radioactive materials are used in a multitude of industries and sciences across the United States, and around the globe, including medical and pharmaceutical fields, physics and other scientific research, biology, mining, environmental clean-up and protection and other fields that benefit both our planet and human kind.

This puts millions of employees, researchers and those exposed to contaminated via proximity to radioactive materials, which is why radiation safety training is so important.


What Does Radiation Safety Training Look Like in the Workplace?

The large majority of harmful exposure to radiation in the workplace occurs as the result of an accident, and/or the lack of a workplace safety culture. The less education and training managers and employees have in regards to:

  • The risk of radiation exposure
  • Radioactive materials or substances in the workplace
  • Protective materials available
  • What to do in case of a radioactive spill, contamination, accident, etc.

the more likely there is to be a serious and irreversible emergency. Radiation safety is all about education and proactive prevention – with a hearty dose of training in terms of what to do when the “worst case scenario” takes place.


ALARA Can Serve as Your First Line of Radiation Safety Defense

ALARA is an acronym, as well as a safety principle and regulatory requirement, for companies that work with radioactive materials. It stands for As Low As Reasonably Achievable and quantifies the idea that at all times, companies should strive to keep radioactive exposure to the lowest amount possible.

This is done in a variety of ways, ranging from how materials are listed, registered, stored, and handled, to the radiation containment, protection, and shielding mechanisms put into place.

The EPA as well as organizations such as OSHA are dedicated to ensuring company owners and key management personnel have all the information they need to adhere to ALARA principles and create a safety-first environment for employees, customers, and others.


Who’s Your Radiation Safety Officer?

The radiation safety officer (RSO) plays a very important role in the safety training paradigm. In larger companies, the RSO may hold a full-time position – wholly dedicated to overseeing the continuous training of personnel, that radioactive materials are ordered, stored, used and disposed of safely, that radiation protection at all levels is current, easily accessible by employees, free of defects and is replaced as needed, and so on.

Radiation safety officers may also hold this title adjunct with another job description – typically with an increase in pay. In addition to their regular duties, these RSOs also ensure their company complies with radiation safety-related regulations.

In most cases, RSOs host the bulk of the regular safety meetings and in-house trainings, in addition to ensuring managers and key personnel have access to off-site safety trainings and regulation updates as needed.


Benefits of Radiation Safety Training and Awareness

Awareness and routine training saves lives. This can take many forms, including:

  • Maintaining current certifications and licensures
  • Observing federal, state and local radiation legislation to its fullest
  • Regular water cooler chats
  • Routine Friday (or whatever day of the week) safety meetings
  • Incentives for employees for following procedures
  • Rewards and reassurance for honestly reporting safety issues that need immediate attention, without fear of recrimination
  • Thorough training and testing in terms of skills and operating procedures

Safety training can be handled in-house and very informally, but should also include formal education and training (including the certification or licensure for certain employees) as needed.

Are you interested in learning more about the shielding, containment and radiation protection that can be incorporated into your company’s daily safety practices? Contact us here at Lancs Industries. We’ve served as a leader in radiation protection for more than forty-years and we’re happy to fabricate custom orders as needed.

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