Do you live or work in a place that puts you at risk for radiation exposure? The more you can do to educate yourself and take precautions, the better. Radiation exposure is not something that can be “undone.” Once your body has absorbed its maximum dose of Alpha, Beta or Gamma exposure – bad things start to happen.
Radiation sickness is nothing to scoff at; the effects are often permanent and can even cause death. By educating yourself and ensuring you’re adequately protected, you are much less likely to suffer the harmful effects of radioactive elements.
Are you exposed to radiation at work?
First, if you work at a place where radiation exposure is a threat, ask yourself if the company has a “safety first” culture.
- Are you familiar with ALARA?
- Is there a designated Radiation Safety Officer who leads/participates in regular safety meetings and who monitors radiation levels and ensures proper safety precautions are in place?
- Are you equipped with certified protective clothing and/or shielding when necessary?
If you answered no to any of the above questions, speak with your fellow co-workers or a manager (if you feel comfortable doing so) and then approach company administrators to address these issues. The health and well-being of you and your fellow employees is worth it. There are a range of safety practices, protective products that can be used and worn that will keep your radiation exposure limits at minimal levels.
It might be time for you and a group of dedicated employees to empower yourselves to start a safety revolution. By creating and implementing practical safety protocols, you’ll protect yourselves and generations of employees that come after you.
If you’re concerned your career puts you at risk for unnecessary exposure, or that your company is not doing what it should to protect you, contact us here at Lancs Industries and start a conversation. We’ll speak with you about what your company makes produces, operation procedures, your potential exposure risks and the precautions and protective measures you can take to limit or avoid harmful radiation exposure.
Tips for Protecting Yourself From Harmful Radiation Exposure
At the most basic level, there are three simple guidelines used to limit exposure to radiation – time, distance and shielding.
The longer you’re exposed to radiation, the higher the dose will be. For this reason, it’s important to limit the amount of time spent in contact or close proximity to radioactive materials. The amount of time you can safely spend in close proximity to radioactive materials is called stay time. Professionals have come up with an equation to determine the maximum stay time as:
Stay Time = Exposure Limit/Dose Rate
Pay attention to both exposure limits and dose rates to calculate stay times for yourself, and be firm about limiting yourself to the calculated amount.
The closer you are to a radioactive source, the more radiation you’re exposed to. In the public realm, radioactive disasters are followed by immediate evacuation of residents and businesses up to a specifically calculated distance. For every time you double your distance from a radioactive source, you diminish exposure by ¼. On the flip side, halving the distance between you and a radioactive source increases exposure by a factor of four.
It’s important to know the type of radiation energy and activity you’re exposed to. Gamma rays, for example, travel at the speed of light. On the other side, beta particles can only travel a distance of about 10 feet, and alpha particles are limited in travel by just a few inches. Keep in mind, however, that alpha particles can be inhaled or ingested and living tissue is very susceptible to damage from this means of exposure.
Now we have arrived at the heart of the matter. Just as a bullet-proof vest slows or stops the trajectory of a bullet, radiation shielding is designed to slow or completely stop the ability for radiation energy to travel through it.
Again, each type of radioactive energy can be blocked by differing substances and sometimes by containment tents. So, alpha particles can typically be blocked by more than a few inches of air space (keeping in mind they can be ingested or inhaled), water, or a thin shield. Gamma rays, on the other hand, require serious radiation shielding, like lead wool blankets, protective clothing or sleeves, and so on.
Contact the experts at Lancs Industries to learn more about your personal radiation risks and to explore radiation protection in the form of clothing, shields or custom products.
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