An NHS Trust has been fined after a radiologist was exposed to significant amounts of ionizing radiation (in connection with the continuous use of a CT scanner). In just over three months, exposure was more than double the legal annual dose limit for skin exposure.
An investigation by Britain’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the Trust had never carried out a risk assessment for the CT scanner operating in this type of continuous mode so a safe system of work was not developed. In addition, managers were aware that this technique was being carried out but did not ensure proper procedures were followed.
Regulation 7(1) of the Ionising Radiations Regulations 1999 states: Before a radiation employer commences a new activity involving work with ionising radiation in respect of which no risk assessment has been made by him, he shall make a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risk to any employee and other person for the purpose of identifying the measures he needs to take to restrict the exposure of that employee or other person to ionising radiation.
Regulation 11 of the Ionising Radiations Regulations 1999 states: Subject to paragraph (2) and to paragraph 5 of Schedule 4, every employer shall ensure that his employees and other persons within a class specified in Schedule 4 are not exposed to ionising radiation to an extent that any dose limit specified in Part I of that Schedule for such class of person is exceeded in any calendar year. Where an employer is able to demonstrate in respect of any employee that the dose limit specified in paragraph 1 of Part I of Schedule 4 is impracticable having regard to the nature of the work undertaken by that employee, the employer may in respect of that employee apply the dose limits set out in paragraphs 9 to 11 of that Schedule and in such case the provisions of Part II of the Schedule shall have effect.
Here is the HSE Press Release.