Submit, Review and Share: Reporting Radiation Incidents for Safety

Several industries work with radiation equipment and radioactive substances. In medicine, we have radiation therapy for cancer treatment and X-rays and CT scans for diagnosis. For safety and security, ionising radiation is used to kill bacteria, molds and other pests in our food. In airports, we go through scanners and baggage checks before departure. In the energy industry, we use nuclear power to generate electricity.

Radiation in the workplace is more common than we think and it’s important to have well-established precautionary measures in these facilities. However, even with safety controls in place, unexpected radiation incidents can happen.

Examples of Radiation Incidents

A radiation incident is an unexpected event that could result in radiation exposure outside the intended range or worse, radiation injuries. It can result from human error, labelling issues or equipment failure, to name a few. Here are some examples of a radiation incident:

  • When the therapeutic radiation dose exceeds the prescribed dose during the administration
  • Any unplanned exposure to a pregnant woman (she and the unborn baby are more sensitive to the radiation effects)
  • Loss or theft of radioactive sources or apparatus
  • Malfunctioning of radiation apparatus including shielding 

Across Australia, more than 50,000 licenced users work with radiation and report any radiation incident to the Australian Radiation Incident Register (ARIR), managed by ARPANSA.  ARIR intends to raise awareness of radiation safety and facilitate the sharing of lessons learnt from radiation incidents across the country. 

From 2004 to present, ARIR reports have included 31 incident categories:

Borehole LoggingNuclear Medicine
Cabinet X-rayPortable Density Moisture Gauge
Consumer ProductsRadiation Gauge
ContaminationRadiofrequency
Deliberate or Malevolent ActRadiotherapy
DentalSources Found
Diagnostic RadiologySources Lost
External ExposureStatic Eliminator
High Recorded DoseTheft of Sources
Industrial LinacTransport
Industrial RadiographyUltraviolet
IrradiatorUnauthorised Disposal of Sources
LaboratoryUnauthorised Possession of Source
LaserX-ray Analysis
Luminising/Luminous DeviceXRF Source
Mining 

Raising Radiation Safety Awareness Through Reports

Most of the time, radiation incidents aren’t that big and dangerous. After all, regulations are strictly implemented and radiation workers are very careful in handling substances and equipment. However, every incident can impact human health and the environment so it’s important that they are reported, and assessed to come up with future solutions. Lessons learnt from incidents include improving workflows like ensuring necessary checks and protective equipment pre-procedure. 

Radiation Monitoring in Different Industries

Any radiation incident can affect not only radiation workers but the community as well. To give everyone peace of mind and assurance of their safety, there should be regular radiation monitoring in any facility that works with radiation. 

SensaWeb’s automated reporting helps easily detect and interdict radioactive materials. This makes it easy for any organisation that needs to monitor and report on their radiation and X-ray regulatory requirements. 

For real time radiation monitoring needs, connect with the SensaWeb team here or our email address: info@sensaweb.com.au. You can also call us at +61 415 409 467.

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