Steps to Improve Radiation Safety in Your Vet Practice
Radiation safety in a veterinary practice is becoming increasingly important. Discover four proactive ways to promote a safe working environment for pets, nurses and vets.
As veterinary professionals, most days usually involve using x-rays to make radiographs to help diagnose problems. However, trying to juggle the stresses of a busy practice can have a knock-on effect over the way nurses and vets handle radiation safety. The good news is that there are some simple, yet effective, methods to achieve the necessary standards required.
Time is everything
One of the key ways of improving radiation safety in your veterinary practice is to minimise the time that each nurse or vet is exposed to x-radiation. As you’re probably aware of, the risks associated with radiation exposure increases when someone exposes themselves to it for longer periods. As a veterinary practice, always encourage every employee to use positioning devices, such as sand-bags, Velcro restraints and tape – instead of touching the patient directly. You should also look to put a greater emphasis on rotation duties in radiology so that one or two aren’t always involved in every x-ray.
When it comes to conducting the actual x-ray, distancing yourself and any other team member from the source can reduce exposure. During radiology, excess x-rays are spread in several directions from the patients, so if someone chooses to sit too close, they’ll be heavily exposed. According to Inverse Square Law, simply stepping back 2 feet will reduce your exposure to harmful radiation by 4 times. It’s also worth using radiolucent devices such as wooden spoons and tape to help maintain your distance from the x-ray scatter while maintaining control over the patient.
The next way of improving radiation safety is to use appropriate protective equipment in your practice.
Replacing regular doors with our bespoke lead-lined X-ray Door Sets can make all the difference. Rigorously tested to ensure maximum radiation protection and made using our tried and tested manufacturing methods, they’re the best way of shielding everyone outside of the room. If you’re conducting the scan, we have a variety of NHS HTM approved products designed to provide effective shielding from the x-ray scatter.
For instance, the Modular Fixed X-Ray Screen is an exclusive Raybloc product which provides an attractive-looking frameless barrier between yourself and the machine. An X-Ray Protective Viewing Window is a more permanent fix to shielding everyone. They’re made from leaded glass and can be specifically tailored to fit any shape or size. Alternatively, for a more flexible approach to radiology, our Mobile X-Ray Screens can be wheeled around and give you the exact protection you need. You can read about how investing in X-ray protective doors and windows can make a positive impact on radiation safety in this case study from one of our clients.
Address the attitude
The final step towards improving radiation safety in your veterinary practice is to create an environment which promotes the importance of safety policies in the workplace. For starters, try running regular refresher training sessions to remind every nurse and vet about the significance of radiation safety. Putting X-ray warning lights on the door is another simple reminder for anyone who walks nearby or enters the room. It may not seem like much, but taking these small steps will rub off on the wider team and make all the difference when your practice is packed to the rafters.
For more innovative ways to improve radiation safety in your veterinary practice, take a look at our full range of products.