Definition - 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.
- Non-ionizing radiation such as visible light, microwave and radio wave do not do much harm to the tissues (unless concentrated)
- 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.