Your protection from radiation exposure is entirely dependent on the quality of the shielding products you use. Failure to choose the right type or style can lead to unnecessary exposure and long-term consequences.
Radiation Containment 101: Basic Types and Styles
If you’re working in a radioactive career or in a job environment, its essential that you and your co-workers are provided with adequate protection and shielding products. In most cases, your company’s radiation safety officer (RSO) will oversee these selection and modify them as needed, depending on the project. However, it’s still a good idea to know your options so you can bring any weak spots to the RSO’s attention.
Here are some examples of basic radiation containment types and styles:
Contain leaks and drips
Ultimately, any leaks or drips of radioactive material will be repaired. In the meantime, you need a good catchment system to contain the materials and prevent their spread or further contamination of the area, groundwater, etc.
Catch containments and accessories such as containment tents are designed to do just that, and come in various shapes and sizes to address the specifics of your situation.
Temporarily patch your containment shielding
Have a leak, puncture or tear in your shielding materials? Patch kits will do the trick until your containment or shields can be replaced. Patch kits are available for both containments as well as glove bags. The kits can also be used to modify existing containments or glove bags until custom versions can be made.
Filter pouches will allow fresh air to be brought into to containment tents or glove bags, while trapping radioactive particulate matter so it doesn’t contaminate workers or spread to protected, exterior environments.
Most sleeves and gloves are designed to fit custom measurements around the exposure field. Sometimes, the accessible field may need to be extended. If longer sleeves aren’t available, flanged sleeves can be used for additional penetration depths. These sleeves are affixed to tents or glove bags using glue or tape.
Flanged glove sleeves
These sleeves work similar to flanged sleeves, but they are specific to when a worker’s gloves will need to extended to provide further protection from the increased penetration into the containment site is needed.
What do I do if my company doesn’t provide adequate protection?
The good news is that organizations such as OSHA and radiation-specific safety programs – such as ALARA – have kept conscientious employers to task when it comes to providing employees with adequate protection and education regarding radiation exposure. That being said, it’s imperative that you check-in with management if you feel employees at your jobsite are inadequately protected.
If you feel afraid to do so, or worry your position with the company is in jeopardy if you sound the alarm, contact OSHA directly. They take employee safety very seriously, particularly when it comes to radioactive materials since radiation doesn’t just affect you and your fellow co-workers, but also the immediate and global environment at large. Plus, employees that report employer safety violations are protected by the Whistleblower Protection Act.
You can contact OHSA’s free and confidential on-site consultation program and discuss your concerns with an OSHA employee directly (1-800-321-OSHA). Your name will never be mentioned, but this important call will trigger the necessary inspections and/or investigations to ensure your health – and the health of your employees – is protected. The good news is that if your company is guilty, no fines or penalties will be issued as long as they immediately clean up the violation, comply with OSHA’s instructions and pass successive inspections.
Interested in learning more about job-related radiation containment and shielding products? Contact us here at Lancs Industries. In addition to providing custom protection when needed, we can also help you determine whether your company is violating radiation protection protocols, and to establish which shielding and containment products are right for you.
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