Does Cumulative Radiation Exposure Matter?
The short answer is YES! Keeping records of cumulative radiation exposure is crucial for several reasons, particularly for healthcare workers regularly exposed to radiation. By tracking and documenting the lifetime radiation dose, healthcare facilities can ensure their employees’ safety and well-being while complying with regulations set forth by organizations such as OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration). One primary reason for keeping records is to monitor the level of radiation exposure over time. Cumulative radiation exposure refers to the total amount of radiation an individual has been exposed to throughout their lifetime. By maintaining accurate records, healthcare workers can assess their current level of radiation exposure and take necessary precautions to minimize any potential health risks associated with excessive radiation.
Can It Protect Me from Potential Lawsuits?
Additionally, keeping track of cumulative radiation exposure allows healthcare facilities to comply with OSHA regulations. OSHA sets specific guidelines and standards regarding occupational exposure to ionizing radiation. These guidelines protect workers from potential health hazards associated with prolonged or excessive exposure. We suggest that these records be kept safe for an indefinite amount of time. Providing you have followed the guidelines and have kept proper documentation; it could help protect you and your practice. Furthermore, comprehensive records enable healthcare professionals to make informed decisions about work assignments and scheduling. By understanding each worker’s cumulative dose, employers can ensure that individuals are within recommended limits and reaching potentially harmful levels.
We have seen firsthand where doctors’ offices do not keep track of the radiation exposure of their employees. At a vet show, a woman told us she never takes the precautions outlined and does not wear a dosimeter badge or ring when using the x-ray equipment. When asked how long she had been doing her job, she said, “About 15 years”. She further said that she is in the operatory holding the animal when X-rays are being done. As an office manager or owner of a practice, it is important that your employees wear personal dosimeter badges and you keep good records.
1. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). (n.d.). Ionizing Radiation.
Retrieved from https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/radiationionizing/index.html
2. National Council on Radiation Protection & Measurements (NCRP). (2019). NCRP Report No.
184: Medical Radiation Exposure of Patients in the United States.
Retrieved from https://ncrponline.org/shop/reports/report-no-185-evaluating-and-communicating-radiation-risks-for-studies-involving-human-subjects-guidance-for-researchers-and-institutional-review-boards-2020/