Radiation Safety for Healthcare Workers: What You Need to Know

Ensuring radiation safety for healthcare workers is of paramount significance. Medical personnel might encounter notable hazards while utilizing ionizing radiation in diagnostic imaging or therapeutic procedures. This form of radiation can harm living cells and DNA, potentially resulting in enduring health complications, including the development of cancer.

Stringent safety measures and strict adherence to protocols must be implemented and practiced per the fundamental ALARA principle of radiation (As Low As Reasonably Achievable). The three crucial aspects are adequate shielding, distance from the source, and minimizing time of exposure. Responsibility for adequate protection is everybody’s concern—the individual practitioner, the medical team, and the facility.

 

What Role Does Medical Personnel Take in Radiation Safety?

Medical radiation safety comprises a critical framework designed to safeguard healthcare workers and ensure proper patient care. Unfortunately, some medical workers have a surprising lack of understanding of radiation properties and procedures.

A study by A Szarmach et al., “Radiation safety awareness among medical staff” (Polish Journal of Radiology vol. 80 57-61. 1 Feb. 2015, doi:10.12659/PJR.892758) surveyed the knowledge of 150 professionals in three large hospitals. As expected, the radiology staff performed best. However, oncology staff, nurses, and respondents with longer employment histories delivered the worst results! Also noted was that correct information was gleaned from media rather than specialized training.

Mitigating the potential dangers of radiation hinges on two interdependent behaviors—disciplined clinical practice and consistent, ongoing training. It benefits all medical personnel, regardless of their level or experience, to acquire and implement a better knowledge of radiation protection issues as part of their medical expertise.

 

The Health Risks of Radiation Exposure

The highest risk of occupational exposure stems from scatter radiation produced as a byproduct of primary beams during diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. Health effects accumulate over time.

What Are the Potential Health Effects?

  • DNA damage: Prolonged or repeated exposure increases the risk of DNA damage, potentially leading to cellular abnormalities.
  • Tissue damage: Damage to radiosensitive tissues can cause short-term and long-term health issues.
  • Cancer risk: Cumulative exposure induces an elevated risk of cancer.
  • Heritable risk: Mutations in germ cells can result in genetic disorders in offspring.

 

How Can Exposure Be Minimized?

  • Linear No-Threshold (LNT) Model: Presume that any radiation dose, no matter how small, carries a proportional risk.
  • Radiation safety guidelines: Follow radiation safety principles for healthcare workers established by best practices and legislation.
  • Preventative measures: Place shielding barriers in the radiation-controlled zone and wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE).
  • Continuous monitoring: Use correctly positioned personal dosimeters and area radiation monitors.

 

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for Radiation Safety 

Compulsory radiation safety standards in hospitals, clinics, and other medical facilities prescribe that all radiologic personnel minimize radiation exposure by wearing appropriate PPE. Barrier Technologies® supplies a wide range of innovative radiation safety apparel and accessories, offering the highest levels of protection and comfort.

 

Protective Aprons

Features:

  • Cover all thoracic and abdominal organs and femur bones.
  • Contain lead or lead-free core materials with 0.35 mm or 0.5 mm lead equivalence (LE).
  • Closure options include Velcro or revolutionary MagnaGuard™ magnetic closures for maximum convenience.
  • Four outer fabric choices, including antibacterial, stain-resistant UltraFlex™ with Dynamic Temperature Regulating (DTR) technology.

 

Applications:

  • Frontal
    • Suitable for standard diagnostic X-rays.
    • Commonly used in radiography and general imaging procedures.
  • Wraparound: 
    • Protect against radiation exposure from various directions.
    • Ideal for fluoroscopy, interventional radiology, and procedures requiring mobility. 
  • Vest and skirt:
    • For all-around upper and lower body protection.
    • Best for fluoroscopically-guided surgeries.
    • Provide better weight distribution for lengthy procedures.

 

Thyroid Shields

Thyroid Shield

Features:

  • Cover the area where the chest meets the neck, to protect the vulnerable thyroid gland.
  • Contain lead or lead-free core material with 0.5 mm LE.
  • Closure options include Velcro or MagnaGuard™ magnetic closures.

 

Applications:

  • Boomerang: 
    • Protects the thyroid gland from the front and sides.
    • Standard collar for general radiography applications.
  • Visor:
    • Front-facing protective panel shields the thyroid and surrounding upper chest area.
    • Commonly used in operating theaters and catheterization labs.
  • Disposable:
    • An affordable, practical solution for temporary staff.
    • Eliminates infection risks from sharing in facilities with frequent rotation and staff training.

 

Radiation Protection Gloves

Lead Gloves

Features:

  • Secure Touch® lead-free gloves provide incomparable flexibility.
  • Ergonomically designed with slightly curved fingers.
  • Powder-free, hypoallergenic internal coating.
  • Textured palms and fingers for a non-slip grip.
  • Rolled cuffs for easy donning and doffing.

 

Applications:

  • XR1:
    • 0.02 mm thickness at fingertips for maximum tactile sensitivity during delicate procedures.
    • 0.02 mm LE offers excellent attenuation.
  • XR2:
    • 0.035 mm thickness at fingertips for dexterity.
    • 0.04 mm LE provides maximum attenuation of up to 64% at 60 kVp.
  • XRF:
    • Latex-free material prevents allergic reactions in practitioners and patients.
    • 0.04 mm LE and 0.035 mm thickness at the fingertips combine dexterity and protection.

 

Leaded Eyewear

Lead Glasses

 

Features:

  • Equipped with Corning Med-X® 0.75 mm LE lenses.
  • Prescription lenses are available for many frames.
  • Optional 0.5 mm LE side shields can be fitted to selected styles.
  • Frames sourced from major brands for fashion-forward quality and comfort.

 

Applications:

  • Essential PPE to shield the eyes during fluoroscopy, CT scans, and radiography.
  • Standard wear in all cardiac catheterization labs, electrophysiology labs, radiology departments, operating theaters, and everywhere medical radiation is present.
  • Reduces the risk of cataracts and other radiation-induced eye diseases.

 

Additional PPE Accessories

Barrier Technologies also supplies a variety of accompanying accessories. These offer extra protection to complete your PPE. Check out our:

  • Headbands and caps
  • Protective sleeves
  • Demi and half aprons
  • Elasticated and ortho belts
  • Terminator XR mobile shields

For more comprehensive information and to select the options that suit you and your work, please consult our latest catalogs. You can find them in the item categories listed in the Products tab on our home page.

 

Barrier Technologies Cares About Radiation Safety for Health Workers

You work hard on the frontline of healthcare, tending to the ill and injured. Barrier Technologies has the utmost respect for your unwavering dedication. We commit ourselves to protecting you against the dangers of scatter radiation, allowing you to perform your life-saving work with confidence and complete peace of mind.

Barrier Technologies pushes the boundaries to provide top-tier PPE. We conduct ongoing research and development to ensure continuous improvements and innovations that enhance radiation safety for healthcare workers. 

Choose Barrier Technologies products for the latest technological advances and meticulous attention to detail. Contact us here to place your PPE order today!