Radiation Protection for Patients


The purpose of these local rules is to ensure that dental radiography is carried out in accordance with the Ionising Radiations Regulations 2017 (IRR17). 

Radiation protection supervisor and authorised users 

The RPSs are Piotr Pirga and Vanessa Pirga, alongside Aymie in Monks Brook. The RPSs should ensure that all dental radiography is carried out in accordance with these local rules. The personnel section of the radiation protection file details the training requirements, staffs’ training records and the personnel register, which indicates who is authorised to operate the X-ray equipment. 

Description of the controlled area 

The whole of each room containing an intra-oral X-ray set is designated as a controlled area whenever the mains power to the equipment is switched on. 

Working procedures 

This section provides the written arrangements under which ‘unclassified persons’ are permitted to enter the controlled area. 

· the primary X-ray beam must never be directed towards the operator, or towards an unshielded partition wall or unshielded door 

· the operator should be positioned in the doorway during exposures 

· if the operator has to remain in the controlled area to initiate the X-ray exposure they must stand at least 1.5 m from and well away from the path of any intra oral X-ray beams 

· the operator should ensure that no one, except the patient remains in or enters the controlled area while X-rays are being produced 

· staff must not hold the X-ray tube head, patient or image receptor during an exposure 

· the operator must observe the warning lights during each exposure/listen to the audible warning and ensure that the exposure has terminated correctly before approaching the X-ray equipment and the patient 

· no one must interfere with, or modify any part of, the X-ray equipment without first consulting the RPS 

· the X-ray set must be switched off at the mains after each set of radiographs. 

Pregnant staff 

The employer must ensure that the dose to the foetus of any member of staff is unlikely to exceed 1 mSv during the declared term of pregnancy. As doses to operators have been assessed to be significantly lower than 1 mSv there is no need for any special arrangements for pregnant members of staff. 

Duties of employees 

All employees must: 

· ensure that exposures to staff and all other people are kept as low as reasonably practicable

Service, maintenance and repair of the X-ray equipment 

Service, maintenance and repair work should only be undertaken by adequately qualified service engineers. Following any such work, no radiation equipment or ancillary equipment should be accepted back into service until the RPS has reviewed the service report. This should confirm that the equipment has been left in a state fit for use and that no alterations have been made which may significantly affect patient doses. If such alterations have been made, the RPS should seek RPA advice before bringing the equipment back into use. 

Contingency plans 

If an exposure control fails, causing the continuous generation of X-rays, the X-ray set should be immediately switched off and the RPS informed. The equipment should not be used again until the fault has been investigated and corrected. If it is suspected that any member of staff has received an unnecessary radiation dose because they approached the X-ray set while it was generating X-rays, the RPA should be contacted immediately for advice. If the operator suspects, for whatever reason, that a patient has received a dose greater than intended, the RPS must be informed. The RPA must then be contacted for further advice. If an X-ray set is damaged, the RPS must be informed and the equipment must not be used until it has been checked by an engineer. The RPA must also be informed. 

If any of the above contingency plans are used, the employer, together with the RPA, should analyse the cause of the event to determine if any action is required to prevent a reoccurrence of the incident. A record of the analysis should be made and kept for at least two years. If any person receives a radiation exposure as a result of the incident, this should be noted on any relevant dose record. Contingency plans must be rehearsed on an annual basis to test their effectiveness and ensure that all relevant staff are aware of the plans and actions to be taken. Records of these rehearsals must be maintained.