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Radiation Safety for Healthcare Workers: The Ultimate Guide

By May 29, 2024June 10th, 2024No Comments

Radiation technology is used in dozens of medical procedures, treatments, and diagnostics in hospitals all over the world. It’s almost magical as doctors can now treat diseases that were once considered untreatable!

But, even though this technology is used to save lives, you also need to provide practical radiation safety for healthcare workers and minimize the impact that this type of energy has on your professionals.

We’ve put together a guide to help you understand radiation safety, why it’s important, and what steps you should take to protect your medical team.

 

What Is Radiation Safety for Healthcare Workers?

Before going any further, let’s define radiation in healthcare.

Ionizing radiation is a valuable tool and resource that’s used throughout many areas of medicine including diagnostic imaging and the treatment of different ailments including many types of cancer.

There are approximately 13.5 million medical procedures in the US that use radiation every year, and this doesn’t include imaging through X-ray, which easily accounts for another 275 million treatments.

But, if your technologists are not wearing the right protection when exposed to ionizing radiation, it can have long-term detrimental effects on your professionals even in medical settings, including the development of different forms of cancer.

This is why radiation protection for healthcare workers is essential for clinics and healthcare facilities that utilize any type of radiation-based technology.

 

Is Healthcare Radiation Shielding Necessary?

In addition to the growth and spread of cancerous cells, direct exposure to ionizing radiation can cause skin irritation, hair loss, damage to the eyes, and even lead to infertility. The worst part is that all of these effects can be amplified when the exposure occurs gradually over a long period of time.

Healthcare radiation shielding is not only recommended, it’s necessary for medical professionals to avoid long-term health issues.

In this setting, shielding consists of specialized personal protective equipment (PPE) designed specifically to protect your organs against radiation and its long-term effects.

Lead aprons, thyroid shields, and gloves are among the types of radiation PPE you can use to protect the right team members.

 

How to Protect Workers from Radiation in Healthcare

Whether you manage a small specialized clinic or a full-treatment healthcare facility like a hospital, you need to protect workers who operate radiation devices regularly. As a matter of fact, all facilities with radiation technology should have a radiation safety director in place.

Let’s go over some additional steps you can take to protect technicians and healthcare experts in your facility.

 

1. Provide Training and Raise Awareness

Research suggests that only 34% of medical professionals follow radiation best practices that are considered sound. This means that radiation safety in healthcare shouldn’t be left up to technicians.

Instead, take the opportunity to organize training sessions with your radiation safety director and have your medical team take a survey after each meeting to track their progress.

 

2. Use Protective Personal Equipment and Radiation Shielding

One of the keys to effectively safeguarding your technicians and medical team is practical radiation protection in healthcare.

In other words, you need to find protective shielding equipment that repels radiation effectively, covers the right parts of your body, and allows you to easily do your job. Some of the shielding equipment you may consider includes:

 

3. Establish Clear Handling Protocols

Your radiation safety officer and technologists should work together to establish clean handling protocols that should be followed when anyone is using radiation technology.

Note that these guidelines should exist for your team members but also for your patients, so it’s also important to provide PPE for them as well.

 

Improving Your Radiation Safety Protocol with Barrier Technologies

When it comes to manufacturing PPE for radiation, Barrier Technologies has an unmatched combination of quality technology and unparalleled service.

In addition to a full range of radiation protective equipment, we can also customize our products and even create specialized gear for your facility.

Ready to get the best shielding for your medical experts? Contact Barrier Technologies today.

 

What Factors Influence the Level of Exposure

The impact of radiation depends heavily on the amount of exposure we receive. Think about it this way: radiation is already everywhere around us. But, the intensity is so low that it doesn’t impact us long-term.

In situations like during an x-ray scan, exposure can dramatically increase and produce negative long-term health effects.

Let’s take a look at some factors that influence radiation exposure.

 

Type of Radiation

There are different types of radiation out there, some of which have mild health effects while others can cause severe issues right away.

Even different medical treatments utilize distinct types of radiation, so it’s best to take precautions regardless of the type you’re being exposed to.

 

Exposure Time and Distance

The distance from the source of the radiation and time of exposure also have a significant impact on how this type of technology affects you.

If you stand close to the source of radiation for a long time, then the impact is worse.

It’s also important to note that, depending on how much time passes between exposures, this effect can also compound and lead to more serious issues after a prolonged period of time.

 

Contact Point and Shielding

Last but certainly not least, the contact point and level of shielding against radiation also affect your body’s overall reaction.

The area of your body that comes in contact with the radiation is important. For example, if you accidentally touch or ingest radiation-contaminated materials, it’s much more dangerous than if the rays pass through your body.

Likewise, the level of shielding, materials used, and how much radiation is reflected will all influence the overall impact it has on the body of your technicians and healthcare professionals.

 

Conclusion

Your medical professionals are in charge of saving lives, but their safety is in your hands. You have to take all the necessary steps to protect the technicians and other professionals who are constantly exposed to radiation technology in your facility.

Fortunately, you can rely on Barrier Technologies for protective thyroid shields, lead aprons, and other scientifically engineered safety equipment that works.

At Barrier Technologies we’ve worked with countless radiologic professionals and we continue to improve our protective equipment design and performance.

Contact us today to get help from our expert team.