5 Issues People Face with Radiation Protection

When we’re dealing with radiation shielding, we’re dealing with people’s lives. Getting this right is imperative for the safety of the patients and practitioners. Not only is cutting corners with radiation protection highly dangerous but getting the requirements for your project wrong can prove to be severely costly in terms of time and money. At Raybloc, it is our job to ensure that you are equipped not only with the right products for the job, but also the knowledge to get the job done correctly. This article will detail the 5 most common issues our customers come across when taking on a radiation shielding project and the advice we would give to stop the problem at the source.

Installing Ionising Radiation Protection

Where shielding products are concerned, Raybloc have you covered. Everything that leaves our doors will be fit for purpose, whether that be operator screens, doors, windows, panelling, or bricks. What we cannot guarantee, however, is how your chosen fitters decide to install it – this is where most people fail, and it can be a massive problem.

For instance, the rooms will not be able to operate until a Radiation Protection Advisor (RPA) has declared them safe for use. As a result, this delay could put a halt to important research, medical diagnostics, and lifesaving treatment. (Not ideal.) With this in mind, let Raybloc ensure that you do not make these same mistakes by taking a look at the exact issues our customers face, and how to prevent them.

Save Yourself Time and Resources with Professional Assistance

Don’t have time for problem-solving? Not to worry, Raybloc does not only supply top-of-the-line radiation shielding products, but our radiation protection services can also include the installation of your products. With your complete radiation shielding package from ourselves, you can save yourself any concerns and make sure that your job is completed to a highly professional standard.

Radiation Protection - raybloc x-ray protection

Key Factors for Protecting Against Exposure to Radiation

1. The amount of protection required

Radiation protection is by no means a one-size-fits-all situation. For example, a CT scan will produce much higher energy radiation than a dental X-ray scan and will therefore require greater protection to stop the radiation in its place. When we say greater protection, we’re referring to the thickness of lead used in the manufacturing of the products.

At Raybloc, our products generally start from a minimum lead thickness of 1.32mm, associated with the term ‘code 3’. The code then increases as your lead thickness requirements increase, with code 4 equating to 1.8mm of lead (1.80 mm Pb), code 5 being 2.24 mm Pb etc. So, you’re probably now thinking to yourself, “how do I determine the thickness of lead my project requires?”. The answer is – you don’t.

The only people who can determine these measurements and give the project the green light are Radiation Protection Advisors (RPAs).

Therefore, your first step in any radiation shielding project is to receive an RPA report. This is a document that has been written by an RPA specific to a project that, using the measurements of the rooms and the radiation equipment present in said rooms, will determine the level of protection for each wall, floor, ceiling, window, door, and screen required for that job.

With this information, you can send your enquiry to a radiation safety specialist like Raybloc with the certainty that you are asking for the correct level of protection.

2. Installing lead-lined products

Now that you know you have the right products for the job, you must put them in place correctly! The process of installing lead-lined products varies from item to item, but the principle remains the same for each item – there should be a constant continuation of lead through and through.

Every radiation-protective product that leaves our doors (pun not intended) is made to measure. You tell us what size you want, whether it’s for structural openings for doors and windows, room dimensions, or screen lengths and angles, and we will make your products to suit. This saves time and effort for everyone involved and guarantees your supplied items will fit where they’re supposed to go. (Providing you’re good with a measuring tape.)

  • Doors & Windows

Raybloc makes installing radiation-protective doors and windows as easy as possible by providing you with complete units. Whether you require door sets or window sets, each comes with a lead-lined frame and architrave to suit a structural opening determined by your request. This means that you are guaranteed to receive products with complete lead overlap from end to end.

  • Walls, ceilings & floors

Having a complete shielding door set or window set isn’t going to stop radiation from leaking out of the room without lead-lining the walls. Just like how you would use plasterboards or plywood to line the inside of a room, we offer lead-lined plasterboards and lead-lined plywood boards. These panels can be fixed to walls and ceilings exactly as standard boards would with the consideration of the weight of lead taken into account.

The leaded architrave covers the gap between the lead-lined door frame and plasterboard, and to cover gaps between plasterboards, lead strips are supplied as part of your board package, ensuring full coverage wherever necessary. Where ceilings and floors are concerned, we offer lead-lined plywood boards. If you have nothing to fix your lead strips to, lead-lined battens can also be supplied.

Although lead-lined plasterboards can be fixed much like regular plasterboards, it is important to note that they are much heavier. These boards must be carried between two people at a minimum and always manoeuvred with the long edge facing upward so that the boards do not snap under their own weight.

  • Operator screens

Most contractors are well acquainted with installing doors, windows, and boards to walls and ceilings, but what about operator screens? Unless you are well experienced in contracts related to radiology, there’s a good chance you wouldn’t know where to start with an operator screen. Fortunately for you, our frameless screen has been designed with this in mind. Upon purchase of your screen, you will receive a step-by-step manual that shows you how to assemble your new frameless operator screen as easily as Swedish furniture!

Not one for getting your hands dirty? We offer installation on all our lead-lined products, so you can scrap this section and move straight on to the next!

Dental X-ray room design - Raybloc Xray Protection

3. Passing the Tests

It’s all well and good of us to say that our products will guarantee adequate protection against radiation, but how do we actually know? After all, you can’t see X-rays.

When the products have been installed, the RPA will return to ensure that everything was done as they stated. They use fancy gadgets and equipment to determine whether the level of protection for that room is safe enough to begin using it for its desired purpose. Because these situations can be a matter of life and death, this is one test that cannot be taken lightly.

Unfortunately, it is far too common to see contractors coming to us for help after being stung by purchasing products that are not satisfactory upon an RPA test. Cutting corners is never recommended. So, when it comes to radiation protection, everything must be supplied and installed by the book to avoid wasting time and money.

4. Durability

At the heart of ionizing radiation protective products is lead. This metal is soft, malleable, and dense, making it the perfect candidate for lining on top of a material, almost like a sheet. More essentially, it is also effective at stopping electromagnetic radiation in its path. However, although it is easy to cut and shape to size, it can also misshape and warp.

Sticking metal in your door is generally considered abnormal practice, especially one that doesn’t really behave like a conventional metal. That’s why many people suffer from the manufacturing of lead-lined products. Although a lead-lined door may appear fine when first constructed, if the correct procedure is not followed, you may run into problems later. The density of lead mentioned at the start of this section is a key part of making it good at its job, but it’s responsible for a lot of problems too.

High density means high weight at large volumes. So, if you’ve got sheets vertically stacked, all that weight is stacked up against gravity, meaning you’ll need something strong to support it. This is especially true where lead-lined doors are used in heavy-duty applications such as nuclear and research facilities where relatively thick amounts of lead are required to protect against radioactive material.

Many manufacturers make the mistake of using softwood in their construction of lead-lined products. While it might be the cheaper option, softwood lacks the structural integrity needed to support such significant weight over long durations of time. This factor will inevitably lead to warping and peeling, which is not only aesthetically displeasing, but also dangerous to the effectiveness of the radiation-protective properties of the door.

The same can be said about how the lead is bonded to a material. Unless fixed securely under high pressure with an effective bonding agent, the lead will peel. And when sandwiched inside a door leaf/screen panel/frame, you can expect a multitude of problems coming your way.

So, how is this problem avoided? Rely on the experts. Many lead-lining manufacturers come and go as they decide to tackle the X ray protection industry without realising the intricacies involved, so the only way to know if your lead-lined products are going to stand the test of time is to trust those that have the proof that they will.

5. Health and Safety

On the opposite end of the scale of lead’s beneficial physical properties, come its not-so-beneficial chemical properties.

Lead poisoning is the consequence of ingesting lead. Note, this doesn’t mean you have to chew on lead to be poisoned by it, but even simply touching lead and rubbing your eye, or touching your mouth to then lick your lips could be enough for it to transmit into your blood. The build-up of lead in one’s body can lead to serious health problems, even in small amounts, so it is essential that exposure is kept to next to zero.

When Raybloc products were first designed, it was a primary goal to ensure that there was zero exposed lead on every piece of furniture that left our factory – with health, safety, & hygiene at the forefront of our minds.

Ever since launching our first products, we continued developing these credentials by reducing the number of exposed edges on our screens and door sets, pioneering both the frameless X ray screen and the integrated door warning light respectively for these two products.

To this day, we are searching for new ways to develop these factors within our catalogue to ensure our customers get the premium products they deserve, built for clinical environments and made to last.

Invest in Highly Protective Lead-lining for your Radiation Facility

At Raybloc, we have over 35 years of experience supplying and installing the best quality shielding products. As industry leaders in ionizing radiation shielding, we’ve built our reputation on offering a prestigious service to people who require shielding from the dangers of ionising radiation across various industries. For more information on how we can prevent radiation exposure to your staff and patients, speak to one of our X-ray protection experts today.

In the meantime, don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn for further insights and updates. If you have any concerns with your shielding project that you would like to settle, get in touch with our technical team today to be advised by radiation shielding specialists.

FAQs

What are the three major rules for radiation shielding?

  1. Lead equivalence – Each part of a room that requires shielding will require a particular amount of lead or equivalent to block ionizing radiation from leaving.
  2. Zero shine path – If light could pass through your lead lining, so could radiation. Use specialist radiation shielders to ensure that your products will not leak.
  3.  Concealed lead – Lead can be poisonous if absorbed into the body – it is essential for any environment that the lead metal is completely encapsulated so that there is zero potential for anyone to touch it.

How do you measure the risk of using radiation?

The intensity of radiation is dependent on its location, the power of the radiation source, and the material between it, and you. Seek advice from Radiation Protection Advisers to find out exactly what you need for your facility.

Should I be installing my lead protection myself?

Radiation shielding is a specialist field that requires precision and detail to get the job done correctly. If you are unfamiliar with the installation of these types of products, it is advised to employ an experienced installation team to get the job done correct. first time. This will save you precious time and money.

In the meantime, don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter for further insights and updates.

To find out more about our X-ray protection products, download our eBook today.

Lead Lined Wall Panelling

Do not skip corners when it comes to radiation protection. It is what shields you, your staff, and your patients from harmful radiation. There is no compromise when it comes to people’s lives. Follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

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