The Latest on Radiation Exposure in the Workplace

July 2, 2018 Andrew Cheung

What do medical staff who work with x-rays, CAT scans, and radioactive medicines, miners who are exposed to rock layers that contain radioactive elements (like radon, uranium, or thorium), and nuclear power plant workers all have in common? Each one of these industries have employees who are exposed to workplace radiation.

Without proper precautions, radiation exposure beyond a certain threshold has dire consequences to an employee’s health and wellbeing.

According to the World Health Organization, “Radiation can impair the functioning of tissues and/or organs and can produce acute effects such as skin redness, hair loss, radiation burns, or acute radiation syndrome. These effects are more severe at higher doses and higher dose rates”.

When workers are exposed to extended, intense, or repeated doses of radiation beyond the regulated limit, this can cause radiation poison or sickness, which can lead to permanent disability or death.

Companies must implement controls to ensure that employee exposure does not exceed the exposure limit set by their country’s regulators. These controls can include monitoring activities, training, signage, and protective equipment, but let’s focus on another key control: implementing a radiation dosimetry program. Dosimetry refers to measuring, calculating, and assessing radiation absorbed by humans, and dosimeters are devices used to measure an absorbed dose of radiation.

Many organizations implement dosimetry programs where they provide employees with dosimeter badges, and employees are mandated to attach these badges onto their uniform while they work. These badges are removed periodically and sent to a lab where they analyze the amount of radiation that an employee has been exposed to. Companies can then use this data and identify whether their controls are effective or if corrective actions are required. Organizations can also use direct-reading dosimeters that do not require laboratory analysis, which is typically the case for employees who work at nuclear power plants.

Advancements in technology have made the collection and analysis of exposure more efficient. Cority provides out of the box functionality within our  Industrial Hygiene solution to help clients track their radiation data. Industrial hygiene staff or designees can use these fields to consolidate data in one place, get quick and easy access to employees’ radiation information, create reports for management, and find trends and insights to make better decisions. This ultimately helps organizations protect employees from unsafe exposure and improves their ability to be compliant with radiation regulations.

In addition, users can conduct risk assessments to identify radiation hazards, create surveys and monitoring plans to collect sample data on workplace radiation, input radiation dosimetry data, and report on employees’ radiation risk.

 

Learn More

To learn more about radiation dosimetry and our Industrial Hygiene solutions, check out the 90-second video below to see how Cority's Industrial Hygiene solution can help:

 

About the Author

Andrew Cheung

Andrew is the Product Marketing Specialist responsible for Cority’s Occupational Health, Industrial Hygiene, and Ergonomics solutions. Before joining Cority, Andrew worked in both product and marketing capacities at an ERP provider, an outbound payments company, and a software development agency. He holds a BA in Communication & Film at Simon Fraser University.

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