(formerly The Radiation Protection Adviser) incorporating ADS News
Welcome to issue 23 of Radiation Protection News incorporating ADS News, which aims to clarify areas of concern and update readers on further developments in the field of ionising radiation. We are again pleased to welcome several contributions from outside HSE and would be happy to consider others for future issues.
Please send any comments, queries and contributions to Ionising Radiation Policy, Health and Safety Executive, Level 6, North Wing, Rose Court, 2 Southwark Bridge, London SE1 9HS
Health and Safety Executive's Ionising Radiation web site is at http://www.hse.gov.uk/hthdir/noframes/iradiat.htm
This publication may be freely reproduced, except for advertising, endorsement or commercial purposes. Please acknowledge the source as HSE.
From April 2003 Specialist Inspectors (Radiation) have become responsible for the delivery of HSE’s site radiography inspection programme and this new arrangement has led to a number of changes in the way HSE inspects and administers site radiography activities. A major factor in the introduction of these changes was concerns raised by employers over the last few years.
Up until now, companies carrying out site radiography and served with the relevant notice under regulation 6(3)&(4) of the Ionising Radiations Regulations 1999 [IRR99], http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/1999/3232/contents/made have been required to give the HSE seven days notice on each and every occasion that they carry out such work. Notifications were usually sent to the HSE office nearest to the location where the work was to be carried out.
Companies carrying out site radiography have been sent new Notices and accompanying letter informing them of the new arrangements and all site radiography notifications should now be sent to the East Grinstead office of the HSE. This applies to all site radiography work required to be notified when it is carried out anywhere in England, Wales and Scotland. Notifications may be made by post, fax or e-mail to the address below:
Health and Safety Executive
3 East Grinstead House,
West Sussex RH19 1RR
Please note that this address should only be used for site radiography notifications and that it is an ‘administration’ address only. All other notifications under the IRR99 should be sent to the local HSE office in the normal way.
HSE would prefer to receive site radiography notifications by e-mail. In consultation with a number of NDT companies HSE has developed a form that can be used for this purpose. A copy of this form may be obtained from the HSE website. This can either be completed on line or saved, completed at a later date and sent to the above address.
Requests for waivers from the 7 day notification period should also be made to the above address and again HSE would prefer these to be made by e-mail. Included with all such requests should be the client's information detailing why the site radiography must be carried out at less than 7 days notification. Notifications and requests for waivers will not be accepted by telephone nor will they be accepted by any other office of the HSE. If you carry out site radiography and were unaware of these new arrangements you are advised to contact the HSE at the above address.
Operators of premises who work with ionising radiation, and rail carriers who transport radioactive substances, need to be aware that the Radiation (Emergency Preparedness and Public Information) Regulations 2001(REPPIR), http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2001/2975/contents/made apply to their activities if the quantity of radioactive material on their premises or being transported by rail exceeds specified limits.
REPPIR came into force in September 2001 to provide a framework for planning for radiation emergencies and providing information to members of the public. The Regulations replace the special hazard assessment requirements of the Ionising Radiations Regulations 1985 and also subsume the Public Information for Radiation Emergencies Regulations 1992 insofar as they applied to activities at premises and rail transport.
REPPIR do not just apply at licensed nuclear sites: they cover any premises where the quantities of radionuclides or fissile material exceed the limits set out in the Regulations. Examples of activities involving radionuclides that may bring premises into scope include:
However, some radioactive sources on premises and packages for transport by rail are outside the scope of REPPIR because it is highly unlikely that a radiation emergency could occur involving such sources and packages. Operators and carriers should check the Regulations to find out whether they apply and what they need to do.
For further information about how REPPIR apply to non-nuclear sites or rail transport, contact Elizabeth Schofield, HSE Major Hazards Control (Elizabeth.Schofield@hse.gov.uk) or check the REPPIR website.
The Explanatory Note to REPPIR does not mention that it also (partly) implements the Public Information Directive 89/618/Euratom. Apparently the lack of mention of that Directive has led some folk to think that it has been repealed, which of course it has not.
HSE is setting up a new stakeholder Forum on ionising radiations. It will build on the work of the Ionising Radiations Advisory Committee (IRAC), whose second term expired in 2002 with no major items of work outstanding.
The Forum’s ways of working will be significantly different from those of IRAC. It will be a member-led body, with members contributing the majority of ideas for the agenda and supporting papers. It will meet on an annual basis, unless urgent business requires additional meetings.
The Forum’s terms of reference are:
"To provide a liaison mechanism between the Health and Safety Executive (the Executive) and stakeholders on matters concerning protection against exposure to ionising radiations that are relevant to the work of the Health and Safety Commission and the Executive, and to identify significant issues for future action."
The core membership of the Forum is made up as follows: employers - 6; workers - 6; professional societies - 4; research and teaching - 1; NRPB - 1; local authorities - 1; public interest - 1. HSE is inviting Greenpeace to provide one member to represent other interests. The Chair for the initial meeting will be Dr S A Harbison. Appropriate Government Departments and Agencies have been invited to send assessors.
We anticipate receiving the membership nominations by the end of May and hope that the first meeting will take place this summer.
HSE’s Focus Group on RPA recognition issues will be meeting in the summer to review the impact of the changes to the HSE Statement on radiation protection advisers. These changes to the Statement came into effect on 1 December 2001 and the Focus Group will consider all aspects of recognition under IRR99, including re-certification, and whether there is likely to be a sufficient pool of RPAs to advise employers on the requirements of IRR99 once the transitional period expires on 31 December 2004.
HSE is publishing updated internal guidance on radon in the workplace this month. The Operational Circular will also be published in the Local Authority Circular (LAC) series. Copies of the Operational Circular are available from HSE’s Regional Offices.
The Operational Circular updates previous internal advice to HSE inspectors and now contains an Information Document providing useful advice on where radon problems are likely to exist and how to deal with them. The Information Document will be copied to employers when HSE inspectors visit and can be made available to others, e.g. radiation protection advisers, who may need information on controlling radon risks in the workplace.
The circular recommends that inspectors should require employers to carry out risk assessments for radon exposure (as required by the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999) for their workplace(s) in radon-affected areas - those areas of the country where the NRPB has estimated that the percentage of houses above the domestic action level is greater than 1%. In the majority of cases the risk assessment would include undertaking basic measurements of radon concentration. The Ionising Radiations Regulations 1999 apply to work in an atmosphere containing radon 222 gas at a concentration in air, averaged over any 24 hour period, exceeding 400Bq m-3.
HSE is actively examining ways in which it can increase employers’ awareness of the risks associated with radon in the workplace. This will include exploring partnership approaches with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Local Authorities in radon-affected areas, and Chambers of Commerce.
Based on experience gained to date and to assist in meeting the expected surge in demand for RPA certification, the RPA 2000 Management Board is about to provide updated guidance for persons applying for RPA certification under IRR99. The new guidance forms the basis of the RPA 2000 Workshop to be held in Birmingham on Tuesday 24 June 2003. Potential applicants for certification are strongly advised to apply at the very earliest opportunity, certainly not later than early 2004, if they wish to see their applications assessed before the HSE deadline of 31 December 2004. The following is extracted from the new guidance.
The portfolio should, as a minimum, include the following:
This area of the portfolio has been frequently neglected by applicants and has often been a primary cause of unnecessary and long delays in completing the assessment. The following points are relevant:
When you are relying on one or more training courses to have provided the necessary knowledge at the appropriate depth, you may care to ask the course provider(s) to complete Cross-reference Table No.1 by relating their course content to each appropriate component of the basic syllabus.
Members of the public can be exposed to ionising radiations from nuclear licensed sites by two routes. Liquid or gaseous discharges of radioactive material from the site can give rise to doses by inhalation, direct radiation from material deposited on the ground or via the food chain. People can also be exposed to direct radiation from the operations taking place on the site. The relevant Environment Agencies regulate the disposal of radioactive material, which includes discharges, through the provisions of the Radioactive Substances Act 1993. The Health and Safety Executive, through its Nuclear Installations Inspectorate (NII), regulates exposure to direct radiation from operations on the nuclear licensed sites and other sites for which NII is the regulating body. It does this using the provisions of the Nuclear Site Licence and appropriate regulations, e.g. the Ionising Radiations Regulations 1999 (IRR99) http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/1999/3232/contents/made
The responsibility for the safety of the public lies with the employer, which on a nuclear licensed site is the licensee. Historically, NII regulated the exposure to direct radiation by inspecting to ensure that licensees had adequate arrangements for monitoring exposure to direct radiation around the site and estimating the resulting doses to people arising from that exposure, and by assessing the results of the monitoring and calculations by the licensees. This was largely undertaken by site inspectors, with support from radiation protection specialists as appropriate.
In 1993 NII decided to supplement this approach with a programme of independent measurements, carried out either by itself or by contractors on its behalf. In general, contractors were used for making measurements of neutron doses and conducting habits surveys around sites to identify critical groups, areas in which the NII did not have the relevant expertise. A programme and protocol for the measurements were developed. NII measured the gamma dose rates at the sites, generally arranging to take measurements in conditions when the dose rates were highest, for example at a power reactor site when all reactors were operating.
The results of the gamma and neutron measurements and habits surveys were combined, as appropriate, to estimate a dose to members of the critical group. It should be noted that the intent of the NII programme is to check the adequacy of the licensees’ arrangements and not to make definitive measurements of the doses to the critical group. It is at best a ‘spot check’ measurement. The results of the licensees’ measurements integrated over the relevant calendar year are the data that are best able to assess exposure of the public.
The statutory dose limit for a member of the public is specified in IRR99 as 1mSv, for exposure via all pathways and not just direct radiation. The NII’s Safety Assessment Principles for nuclear plants (SAPs) set a Basic Safety Limit (BSL) of 1mSv and a Basic Safety Objective of 0.02mSv per year for members of the public. NII expects licensees to demonstrate that doses are below the BSL and that doses above the BSO are demonstrated to be as low as reasonably practicable (ALARP).
To date the NII has established its own measurements at some 25 sites. In all cases the exposure of the critical group to direct radiation is less than 1mSv. At certain sites the examination of the licensees’ data, coupled with the NII measurements, has resulted in actions being taken to reduce the exposure of the critical group within the ALARP region.
The NII has recently introduced a system of requesting annual returns of data from the licensees’ measurements of direct radiation at the site boundary. Assessment of these data will be used to judge whether further inspection of the licensees’ arrangements needs to be made. Additionally the Environment Agency, responding to a direction from DEFRA, has developed a methodology to assess the population doses from multiple sources and exposure pathways of radioactivity. The NII was involved in the steering group for this project. The NII, Food Standards Agency and EA have also started a programme with the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS) to gather information on the habits of individuals around licensed sites, to establish those that may have behaviours resulting in exposure via more than one pathway.
The programme of NII independent monitoring continues.
HSE specialist Inspectors (Radiation) have conducted a programme of inspection of NHS Trusts over the last 12 months to check their compliance with the Ionising Radiations Regulations 1999 (IRR99) and associated legislation.
Results have been mixed, but in general inspectors have been disappointed with the levels of compliance they found and the management of radiological protection in general, nevertheless although a number of Improvement Notices have been served, inspectors were generally pleased with the responses their comments and recommendations received.
A number of common areas of non-compliance with the IRR99 and poor radiological protection practice have been noted. These include:
Inspectors also took the opportunity to assess standards of laser safety at the Trusts and in some cases found woeful standards. No laser risk assessments had been completed, consultation with the laser protection adviser over new equipment was poor and there was a culture of hiring or having lasers demonstrated without regard for safety considerations. Often the attitude exhibited by laser users with regards to laser safety training was ‘What’s that?’ or ‘I’m a Consultant, I don’t need training.’ As a result Inspectors will be paying particular attention to laser safety during future inspections and will resort to enforcement action where necessary.
The HSE will continue to work with the Trusts themselves and the relevant professional bodies and national organisations to improve radiological protection in NHS Trusts nationally. In the meantime the programme of inspection has been extended and in 2003/04 Specialist Inspectors (Radiation) will be inspecting 20-25 Trusts throughout the UK. The programme also includes all non-ionising radiation.
Inspection experiences by a number of HSE Inspectors have shown that the keeping and storage of radiation generators such as 99Mo/99mTc and 81Rb/81mKr do not always meet the security, accounting and storage requirements of regulations 28 and 29 of the Ionising Radiations Regulations 1999 (IRR99) at times immediately after delivery and/or prior to collection outside the normal working hours of recipient nuclear medicine departments. A suitable risk assessment will identify how appropriate levels of security should be provided for all radioactive materials on their premises at all times, including delivery and collection of radioactive materials (including generators) outside normal working hours.
A review of HSE inspectors’ investigation and inspection reports, also identified in analysis of the HSE/EA/NRPB Ionising Radiations Incident Database (IRID), confirms that the loss of radioactive materials usually occurs around the times of transfer of responsibility, i.e. around delivery and disposal/collection. When a radiation generator is delivered to a nuclear medicine department, the employer is immediately responsible for ensuring that adequate storage, security and source record keeping exists. If generators are delivered and collected outside of the normal working hours of a nuclear medicine department, it is not acceptable to rely on the delivery driver of a separate employer to ensure its security. Nor is it acceptable for the hospital to be unaware of its presence, security or condition until the following morning, or the following Monday. Similarly, it is not acceptable to arrange for the collection of spent generators by delivery drivers outside of normal working hours such that the hospital is not specifically aware of when or who removed it from the premises.
Arrangements must be in place for the hospital to knowingly receive new generators and return spent generators, as well as to have source records that accurately reflect the quantities and locations of radioactive materials on the premises. Care must be taken in relation to the level of unsupervised access other employers’ employees are allowed to nuclear medicine departments and/or radiation stores. Where 24-hour security and/or portering staff are available it is usually relatively simple to implement adequate procedures for deliveries and collections outside normal working hours. Adequate procedures will include provision of appropriate information, instruction and training as well as written arrangements for entry and contamination control, if access to areas designated on the basis of likely levels of radioactive contamination cannot be avoided.
The UK competent authority for transport of dangerous goods (all classes) is the Secretary of State for Transport. In the case of UN class 7 (radioactive materials) the executive responsibility is devolved from the Secretary of State to the Transport Radiological Adviser who is also head of RMTD, a division of the Department for Transport.
The modal regulations (ADR) are the European agreement concerning the international carriage of dangerous goods by road (2001 Edition) and ECE/TRANS/140 (UNECE). These are implemented (for the purposes of radioactive material) by:
The notable changes from the previous legislation are described below.
The 70 kBq/kg general value has been discarded and replaced with radionuclide specific values. If the activity concentration for exempt material, or the activity limit for an exempt consignment, does not exceed the radionuclide specific values given in Table 1 of TS-R-1, the material is not radioactive for the purposes of transportation. It is the responsibility of the carrier to ensure that the total activity on the conveyance does not exceed the maximum applicable activity limit for an exempt consignment. Such material may, however, be considered radioactive under other legislation.
Some radionuclide specific ‘A’ values have changed. Most have increased or stayed the same, but some have reduced (notably, the A2 value for Tc99m is now 4 TBq rather than 8 TBq). The excepted package limit for liquid Tc99m is now 400 MBq, not 800 MBq.
There is a requirement for every carrier, consignor and consignee involved in the transport of radioactive material to establish a radiation protection programme which:
There are 25 new or revised UN numbers, proper shipping names and descriptions. All proper shipping names begin "RADIOACTIVE MATERIAL". Where UN numbers have been retained, the actual scope may be different from that covered in previous editions of the Regulations.
Example 1 - Type A package loaded with non-fissile special form radioactive material -
Example 2- Type A package loaded with non-fissile, non-special form radioactive material -
All packages must be marked with an identification of either the consignor or consignee, or both, and excepted packages must be marked with "UN" plus the new UN number. All other packages must be marked as for excepted packages plus the proper shipping name. Industrial packages must be marked with "Type IP-1" (or IP-2 or IP-3, as appropriate) and (if IP-2 of IP-3) the VRI code (e.g. GB) and manufacturer (or other ID as specified by the competent authority).
Packages not requiring competent authority approval (i.e. excepted, industrial, Type A) designed and built in accordance with RAMRoad 1996 may continue to be used until the end of 2003 so long as, (i) they comply with the revised material limits and activity restrictions and, (ii) they must meet all the requirements of the revised regulations relating to quality assurance.
Fireproof notices are no longer allowed as an alternative to "ADR Orange Plates" and all vehicles must display Orange Plates front and rear in accordance with ADR 5.3.2. Vehicles carrying RADIOACTIVE I,II or III category labelled packages must be placarded at both sides, and at the rear.
Additional activity limits now apply to air shipments. Unless the radioactive material meets the "Low Dispersible Radioactive Material" (LDM) requirements, Type B (U) or B (M) packages are limited to 3000 A2 or 100000 A2 (whichever is the most limiting), for special form radioactive material, and 3000 A2 for all other radioactive material. Type C packages, which have more rigorous test requirements, are required for the air shipment of radioactive materials in excess of these quantities (unless LDM). Excepted packages to be transported by air must have a testable containment system.
Criticality Safety Index (CSI) labels are required for all packages containing fissile material (unless excepted from the requirements of the regulations. CSI was previously the Transport index for nuclear criticality control.
Complacency is not an option. Compliance will require industry (and regulator) diligence. RMTD inspectors are presently undertaking a revised compliance assurance programme which includes visits to premises, roadside checks with the police and the vehicle inspectorate, and joint agency visits with HSE, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).
Industry training courses endorsed by RMTD have been updated to incorporate TS-R-1 requirements. It is imperative that users (including consignors and carriers) are aware of their revised duties and obligations under the TS-R-1 based legislation and that appropriate training is given and records kept.
The Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road (Driver Training) Regulations 1996, SI 1996 No.2094 (as amended by SI 1999 No.303)
The Transport of Dangerous Goods (Safety Adviser) Regulations 1999, SI 1999 No.257 Regulation 4(1) say that no person shall transport dangerous goods by road, railways or inland waterway unless;
This is disapplied for radioactive materials in respect of;
There is a two year revision cycle and publication of the next edition is expected this year (2003). Implementation of revised of IAEA Transport Regulations is then planned for January 2005. RMTD is aware that the different modal implementation dates have caused many difficulties for regulators and users and will continue to monitor the situation.
John Billard, a Prospect national secretary, has a special interest in the effect of radiation on workers in the nuclear industry. Last year he was a worker representative at an international conference on radiological protection.
This conference, the first of its type, was organised by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Representatives from 70 countries - mostly radiation experts from employers, government and research institutions - attended. The United Kingdom had attendees from AWE plc, BNFL, NRPB, UKAEA and HSE.
I made a number of contributions, in particular referring to the problems of demoralised or unmotivated staff not keeping to safety procedures. Possible causes include the effect of running down the industry, decommissioning rather than commissioning, the effect of cost cuts on staff numbers, contracting out and privatisation.
As the industry matures, workers are regularly required to keep to a fraction of legally authorised maximum exposure limits. In addition, judicious use of worker rotation where the risk increases is a well-known solution to keep doses to a minimum. Nevertheless, dose rates in industrial radiography - often an area of poor supervision or representation - can still be very high.
There are new hazards in decommissioning experimental reactors where, after long operation, records or memories of the operators may be incomplete or unavailable. Handling the waste stream in reprocessing materials presents challenges because previously planned exit routes may have been closed off due to environmental considerations. In all this, trust is needed between workers and employing organisations to provide the best protection.
A blame culture must be avoided. Non-culpable reporting must be introduced. This will pick up poor practice and concerns expressed by workers. This will be effective when there is strong worker organisation and open reporting by employers. Today however, particularly in the United Kingdom, the break up of larger organisations, commercialisation, contracting and sub-contracting may lead employers to take action to accord maximum worker protection that is not appropriate in a commercial environment. Site managers must find ways of handling contractors by co-operation and not diktat.
The contractors themselves may be unwilling to admit to errors to prevent breach of contract claims and may find it more difficult to accept a "no blame" culture. Employers can be put in the position of having to choose between protecting an employee or placating a regulator or public opinion.
While my experience of UK industry indicates that it operates with commendable openness, there may still be an effect on the non-culpable reporting system or an individual worried about their health. The effect of stress on the worker during dose related investigations must not be overlooked.
Organisations, employers, contractors, and trade unions must work together as a team.
The optimum protection of "As Low As Reasonably Achievable" (ALARA) for radiation protection works best where there is as short a distance as possible between management and the workforce.
The standard hazard assessment may be difficult to operate if the task represents injury or death to the worker within a period of 50 years.
Experts drawing up radiological protection rules should be aware of the need to consult worker interests. Regulators must also accept the same approach to consult representatives of the workers on the safety of installations inspected.
The absence of interaction between employers, regulators and employee representatives can lead to actions being poorly understood and therefore poorly implemented by the workforce. Even if there is a much better safety culture now than in the 1950s or 1960s, it can still be difficult to get workers to protect themselves against something they cannot see or feel.
The commercial approach to nuclear handling provides a challenge to co-operation and regulators must ensure full worker participation.
Our aim should be for workers worldwide - whether in coal mines, nuclear plants, hospitals or wherever - to go to work day after day and return safely and without harm to their families day after day.
The RPA in a healthcare establishment, as in many other so-called ‘small user’ organisations, is often a provider of a range of radiation protection services and not just an adviser. The RPA duties, as envisaged by IRR99, thus become part of a broader service offered by the same person. Carried to an extreme, IRR99’s idea of an RPA is in danger of vanishing. The RPA may identify a protection issue, appraise the options for its resolution and introduce the preferred solution without at any time giving advice to the employer. A level of bureaucracy has been by-passed and the employer sleeps soundly in the comfort that no news is good news. It is therefore not unreasonable to ask "Why should we communicate with management?" and to follow up with a "How?" and a "When?" We should also concern ourselves with answering the question "Who, or what, is management?"
The easy response to Why? - that IRR99 and all your other beloved radiation legislation place ultimate responsibility on the employer - is insufficient. Many of us will be relieved to admit that intercourse with the Chief Executive is rare in that it only comes about as a result of intractable failure of systems or communication. In the planning of a new radiation facility, though, the RPA will advise on design, shielding and other controls, and area designation and monitoring. This advice is delivered to the employer via the manager of the department receiving the new facility and/or the project-planning manager. These are the "management" we are communicating with.
Nevertheless, there are times when the RPA should be making formal communication with the employer, either directly or via the senior management/committee structure of the organisation. We would all recognise the need for this in the event of a serious incident or breach of a legislative requirement. However, the "no news is good news" culture is rapidly and quite rightly disappearing, being replaced with a regime of compliance reporting, audit, and controls assurance. If that sounds tiresome, try being on the receiving end of a reactive inspection brought about because your communication system wasn’t designed to warn you of an approaching failure. You, and your employer, need a radar system plus someone whose job it is to watch it and to report at regular intervals that the screen is clear. That report should be made to the organisation’s management and appear on record. The Chief Executive should at least be aware of the use of radiation, have access to this record, and endorse the lines of communication through to their office/management board.
The reporting of incidents would normally follow the same route, but in some circumstances (e.g. failure to comply with a legal requirement) there needs to be a mechanism for the RPA to report directly to any level of management, including the Chief Executive. This may require face-to-face briefing in preparation for an investigation.
In the case of a serious incident the RPA should be prepared to communicate regularly to a cohort of management not normally encountered. These include risk managers, health and safety advisers, purchaser liaison officers, governance directors and press and PR officers. When faced with demands for documentation from regulators on a short timescale unexpected additional demands from these internal sources can become overwhelming, so it is best to be prepared for such an eventuality.
Many hospitals have a radiation protection committee where a mixture of users, advisers and managers meet to discuss and resolve issues relating to radiation use. Whilst this is very useful it falls short of a greater role of communication with management. This is an opportunity for statements of compliance from users, and radiation safety audit/monitoring reports from RPAs, to enter the employer’s formal reporting structure. To do this, of course, the radiation protection committee must have a defined line of accountability which can be traced up to the Chief Executive. This should not be too onerous, as a committee should have an obligation to report to someone or there is little point having it.
The resilience of your lines of communication with management will be tested by circumstances from time to time, and few will be more demanding than entry into a Private Finance Initiative (PFI) to build a new hospital. A consortium of construction and finance companies will build the hospital, another will own and manage it. Your Trust is the tenant for the lifetime of the contract. It is not your building, it may not be your radiation equipment, it may not even be your staff operating it. The staff who may potentially be exposed will certainly not all be Trust employees. Now who is the management, and who the employer? The building consortium will need to consult their own RPA to ensure that all the necessary structural and engineering controls are in place to restrict exposure, but one cannot divorce this completely from procedural controls. They may have a contractual obligation to provide facilities fit for purpose, but it is the Trust as radiation employer that carries the legal responsibility for the use of radiation. Co-operation between employers during planning can be complex and the situation is not helped by the large sums of money or contractual clauses involved.
The final challenge of communication with management is "how". There is a difficult balance to strike between keeping it brief (or it won’t get read) and making every effort to clarify a rather complex subject. Herein lies another argument for regular communication – if your management hears about it more often it will be less of a complicated and dreadful subject
In relation to individual employees with more than one employer, HSE inspectors have become increasingly concerned that some employers are carrying out whole body dosimetry in isolation from that of the employee’s other employers who may or may not also perform dosimetry. We have also had a number of enquiries from employers regarding the dosimetry practicalities of employees with multiple employments. Examples of this occur mainly in the health care sector and include radiologists, cardiologists, oncologists, other radiology staff, nurses and dentists, but other sectors where employees have more than one employer, e.g. with part time contracts of employment, have identical issues to address. The overall requirement of IRR99 is, of course, that employee doses are restricted to as low as reasonably practicable and that total employee doses are compared to relevant dose investigation levels and limits. This requires a degree of cooperation between the employers and the employee who must inform all employers of the circumstances (co-operation between employers is also a legal requirement - see regulation 15 IRR99).
In order to achieve adequate dosimetry, employers have a number of practical options available under IRR99. For example, each employer may decide to issue a dosemeter for use solely on their premises and, if appropriate, arrange for an Approved Dosimetry Service (ADS) to maintain a dose record. Thus employees with more than one employer may have a number of dosemeters and dose records, possibly from different dosimetry services. Alternatively, an employer (often the main employer) may issue a dosemeter for use at all times and expect other employers to issue additional dosemeters for use on their premises only. Again, this results in the employee having a number of dosemeters and possibly dose records. Both methods will work only if full cooperation is undertaken, although the second may raise difficulties if the dosemeters record different doses whilst being worn concurrently.
HSE considers that it will be helpful to some employers if a single whole body dosemeter, and dose record if appropriate, is arranged for all employments. This may make it simpler for some employees by avoiding the need to keep switching their dosemeters and therefore reduce the possibility of mixing them up or forgetting to wear them. Alternatively, there could be a risk of them leaving it at one employment and not therefore wearing it at the next. It must also be recognised that if a significant dose, or worse still an overexposure, was recorded on the dosemeter it may be difficult to determine which employer was responsible for the dose and full cooperation of all employers must be given to the resultant investigation. In some circumstances, an electronic dosemeter will be the ideal, since only one dosemeter would be worn at all employments and, providing appropriate records are available of the employee’s whereabouts throughout the measurement period, it should be possible to determine the origin of recorded doses. Employers must therefore chose an arrangement most suited to their circumstances. The following summarises the dosimetry requirements of IRR99:
Regulation 21 IRR99 requires employers to arrange dosimetry from an Approved Dosimetry Service (ADS). This includes the issue and return of dosemeters for assessing doses from external radiation and the making and maintaining of dose records. The type of dosemeter(s) worn should be suitable to assess all doses that are likely to be significant (L121 [’Work with Ionising Radiation: Approved Code of Practice and Guidance to IRR99’] paragraphs 385 and 386). If necessary, committed doses from internal radiation would also be assessed by appropriate means.
Note that this guidance is not aimed at circumstances where a classified employee enters the controlled area of different employer but is still acting in the employ of the original employer. In this circumstance, the classified person will be an outside worker and HSE guidance in the Ionising Radiation Information Sheet No.4 applies.
When the classified person has more than one employer, or works as self employed on occasion, each employer has responsibilities under regulation 21 IRR99. This means that each employer must make arrangements, either individually or jointly, for dosimetry with an appropriate ADS. In addition, each employer must consider the total dose received by the employee (to demonstrate that a dose limit will not be exceeded and to set and identify whether an investigation level has been reached). L121 paragraphs 243 and 405 provide further guidance.
Non-classified employees may be subject to dosimetry in order that their employer can demonstrate compliance with regulation 8(1) IRR99 and/or regulation 18(3) IRR99, i.e. that doses are ALARP and that they will not receive more than three tenths of any relevant annual dose limit. Where such employees have more than one employer, or act as self employed on occasion, employers should co-operate to ensure that exposures to ionising radiation are restricted to a level which is ALARP and that, if investigation levels are reached, the appropriate action is initiated. Total annual doses must be considered when deciding upon the need for classification and setting investigation levels.
IRR99 require radiation employers to demonstrate, by personal dose monitoring or other suitable measurements, that doses to classified persons and non-classified employees are ALARP. Where employees work for a number of employers, this can only be carried out with the full cooperation of all employers involved and of the employee.
Employers will need to have a system to check if any employees with multiple employments have been designated as a classified person by another employer and consider whether the total annual dose requires classification. If they are classified, then steps must be taken to ensure compliance with the requirements of IRR99. This will require putting systems in place for exchanging information, including dose monitoring information, with the other employers (regulation 15 IRR99). The employers should consider, as part of their risk assessment, the need to issue one or more whole body and extremity dosemeters. Factors to consider should include the practicability of issue, wearing and return of single or multiple dosemeters, variations in type or magnitude of radiation hazards, and differences in the systems of work operated at the different workplaces. An RPA must be consulted about suitable means of dose assessment
HSE has recognised NRPB as an RPA Body in accordance with the provisions of Part II, Annex 1 of the HSE Statement on radiation protection advisers http://www.hse.gov.uk/radiation/ionising/rpa/statementrpa.htm. NPRB is the first RPA Body under IRR99 to be recognised as such ttp://www.hse.gov.uk/hthdir/noframes/iradiat.htm#5a.
Corporate RPAs, appointed under IRR85, are reminded that the transitional provision will run out on 31 December 2004. Should they wish to continue operating beyond that date, they will need to apply to HSE for recognition as an RPA Body under IRR99 before 31 December 2004.
We often receive enquires concerning an employer’s duties towards agency workers under the Ionising Radiations Regulations 1999.
It is impossible to give blanket guidance, as the employment status of agency workers is not clear cut. It depends on how the tests developed by the courts for determining employment status are to be applied to particular facts and circumstances.
There is little doubt that the employment agency is the employer where an agency engages a worker under a contract of employment (sometimes called a contract of service). However, the majority of agency workers are engaged under a contract for services and tend to be regarded by the agencies as self-employed. Depending on the facts and circumstances of the case the agency worker could, for the purposes of health and safety at work legislation, be regarded as: an employee of the agency; an employee of the host employer; or self-employed. For the most part, they are likely to be regarded as an employee of the host employer, with the agency having The Health & Safety at Work Act etc. 1974 (HSWA) section 3 duties towards them (see final paragraph).
The courts have developed various tests for determining an individual’s employment status. These have included:
Courts now generally adopt the more complex multiple test - this recognises that no one test or set of criteria can be decisive; basically, a broad common-sense approach takes into account all the relevant factors and circumstances of the case, the intention of the parties and the other tests described above.
Certain key factors to be considered point towards the existence of an employment contract:
HSWA section.53 (1) expressly provides that a contract of employment may be express or implied, oral or in writing. In this context it is important to remember that, where a person is found not to be an employee, they still have protection under health and safety law (unlike, for example, unfair dismissal legislation). Section 3, HSWA, places duties on employers and the self-employed towards any person not in their employment. The distinction may be important in order to determine which part of HSWA or Regulations apply, but it does not determine whether HSWA or Regulations apply.
A new draft of the Health and Safety Executive guidance Equipment used for medical exposure (HSG 226) has been circulated for comment. The deadline for comments is 22 July 2003.
We are extremely grateful to all those who responded to the earlier consultation, in May 2002, on the draft guidance which revised and expanded Guidance Note: Fitness of equipment used for medical exposure to ionising radiation (PM77). The draft guidance has been considerably altered as a result of the numerous suggestions received.
At this stage of the revision we are particularly seeking your views on Appendices 2 and 3. Unless there are significant concerns, we see the rest of the document as essentially finalised.
HSE are aware that a large number of repeat radiographs are required due to equipment failure resulting in an over exposure which is less than 1.5 x intended. We would particularly welcome information regarding the likely numbers of such incidents.
To see the text of the consultation letter and the draft guidance the internet address is http://www.hse.gov.uk/radiation or contact Ionising Radiation Policy, Nuclear & Hazardous Installations Policy Division, Health & Safety Executive, 6NW Rose Court, 2 Southwark Bridge, London SE1 9HS Tel: 0207 717 6832, Fax: 0207 717 6681
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Published on the HSE web site 6 June 2003