Radiation Safety

Last updated: October 13, 2016

What Does Radiation Safety Mean?

Radiation safety refers to safety issues related to radiation hazards arising from the handling of radioactive materials or chemicals and exposure to x-ray from x-ray machines, electron microscopes, particle accelerators, atomic energy plants, nuclear explosions or accidents etc.. Radiation is extremely harmful to humans and animals. It can cause death or short to long-term radiation sickness by damaging organs and tissues.

Safeopedia Explains Radiation Safety

There are two basic types of radiation.

  1. Non-ionizing radiation such as visible light, microwave and radio wave do not do much harm to the tissues (unless concentrated)
  2. Ionizing radiation removes electrons from atoms and releases immense energy. This includes alpha particles, beta particles, x-ray and gamma ray and neutrons, which destabilize molecules in the cells and tissues, hence causing failure of organs, and ultimately death of the individual or long to short-term radiation sickness

Implementation of radiation safety in the workplace is, therefore, a statutory requirement for the employer (as low as reasonably achievable or ALARA). It is needed to make the workplace a radiation hazard-free zone and have positive control with maximum caution and preventions to protect the employees.

Following is a list of possible sources of radiation in the workplace:

  • Medical industry – x-ray machine, radio therapy and some radioactive chemicals used in cancer treatment.
  • Food industry – some food contains radioactive materials. Some food processing use radioactive materials
  • Metal Industry -ore containing radioactive material is released during processing
  • Nuclear power plant – the reactor uses radioactive materials
  • Nuclear weapons – the factory and the military personnel using nuclear weapons are at risk of radioactivity
  • Astronauts – may receive x-ray and Gamma rays in the unprotected space
  • Consumer products – smoke detectors, luminous watches and gas mantles etc.

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