Ionising radiation: protecting workers and others

Employers must manage the risks of ionising radiation sensibly to protect workers and the public.

For guidance on what ionising radiation is and how people are exposed to it, read Ionising radiation and exposure in the workplace.

Your legal duties as an employer

Notify or apply for registration or consent

Depending on the level of risk, before working with ionising radiation, you may need to:

  • notify the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) - low risk activities
  • apply to HSE for a registration - medium risk activities
  • apply to HSE for consent - high risk activities

This is required under The Ionising Radiations Regulations 2017 (IRR17).

More about notification, registration and consent

If you work with radioactive substances above specified levels

If you carry out work with radioactive substances which is more than specified levels, the Radiation Emergency Preparedness and Public Information Regulations 2019 (REPPIR) may apply to you.

Find out if REPPIR applies to you

Reporting incidents to HSE

You must report certain incidents to HSE under:

  • The Ionising Radiations Regulations 2017 (IRR17)
  • The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR)


If any of the following incidents occur, you will need to email a report to HSE:

  • Where you suspect or have been informed that an overexposure has occurred.
  • Where an accident or other occurrence takes place which is likely to result in a person receiving an effective dose of ionising radiation greater than the following you must arrange a dose assessment and report the results:
    • dose greater than 6mSv or an equivalent dose greater than 15mSv for the lens of an eye
    • dose greater than 150mSv for the skin or the extremities
  • Where there has been a loss, theft or release of a certain quantity of radioactive material.

You can find full details of the above incidents that need to be reported in the Approved Code of Practice and guidance (L21).

Email the report to HSE at: [email protected]


If either of the following incidents occur, you will need to report them to HSE:

  • The malfunction of a radiation generator or its ancillary equipment – during industrial radiography and irradiation of food, or the processing of products by irradiation – causing it to fail to de-energise at the end of the intended exposure period.
  • The malfunction of equipment used in industrial radiography or gamma irradiation, causing a radioactive source to fail to return to its safe position by normal means at the end of the intended exposure period.

RIDDOR reporting procedures

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