Everything you Need to Know About a Radiation Protection Advisor

What is a Radiation Protection Advisor (RPA) and How Can Their Guidance Significantly Impact the Running of Your Radiology Department?

The radiation shielding world can be a daunting prospect, especially when you have to contend with several safety laws.

However, perhaps one of the most overlooked elements of workplace radiation shielding is the role of a radiation-protection advisor. Many professionals forget or aren’t aware that the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) states that employers need to consult a suitable radiation-protection advisor to provide radiation protection advice on complying with the Ionising Radiations Regulations 2017 (IRR17).

Without following appropriate relevant legislation and guidance for building contractors and clients, you can face serious implications with safety authorities. Plus, with inspections often carried out sporadically, it pays to stay ahead of the curve with compliance to avoid any nasty surprises further down the line. With this in mind, we’ve put together this simple guide on radiation-protection advisors to make your life a little bit easier.

What is an RPA?

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A radiation protection adviser is the recognised authority that ensures an organisation has adequate radiation shielding to protect staff, operators and patients in the radiation area. The role is to examine the source of radiation, its surroundings, and its application to be able to provide protection advice on how to sufficiently protect against it. Once the assessment has been completed, they will issue a report to determine how much protection is required for a room, and where it is necessary.

What is an RPA Report?

The radiation-protection adviser report includes prompts for lead equivalences, lead heights, shielding locations and safety systems to ensure the environment is safe for X-ray usage. It’s essential in helping you create a safe working environment and easily comply with the long list of radiation regulations.

The report is a great blueprint for building contractors or radiation shielding suppliers, as it allows them to provide more accurate installation advice and pricing. Instead of second-guessing the design process, architects, builders and suppliers can work together to create a tailored solution. As well as being an effective tool for estimating, it safeguards your business from any surprise visits from authorities.

You’ll have the potential to save time and money too. For instance, you could spend valuable resources and budget on creating a radiology area, only for the advisor to tell you the environment you’ve built isn’t safe in their audit. The report will give you a better idea of the necessary X-ray protection products and equipment required to pass through shielding standards and the specifics of the minimum working environment protection expected.

So, if you installed a code 5 lead equivalence (highest protection) when the radiation-protection adviser says you only need a code 3, you would have paid over the odds for something unwarranted.

The Role of Radiation Protection Supervisor (RPS)

An RPS is a person responsible for ensuring that the radiation shielding aspects of a project are properly planned, implemented and managed. When appointed, they coordinate with all parties involved in the project, including contractors, other supervisors and management representatives.

They also work closely with safety personnel to ensure that they are trained in compliance with federal regulations and guidelines. This role is one of importance within a project to ensure that the entire team adheres to the correct levels of radiation safety as determined by the report and regulations.

What is IRR17?

IRR17 stands for the Ionising Radiations Regulations 2017. These regulations are a set of standards set for all projects involving ionizing radiation to adhere to in the UK. They are the basis that radiation safety officials are trained to ensure radiation legislation is correctly adhered to in the presence of ionising radiation to enable it to be used safely and appropriately for its various benefits.

Requirements for Radiation-Protection Assessing Bodies

Radiation protection professionals have undergone high-level training to get to their position of authority. To become an RPA, you must first complete a physics course on radiology, equivalent to or higher than a Bachelor’s degree. It is with the knowledge they gain from these courses that they are able to have the competence to advise on such an important, life-saving subject matter.

RPAs ensure that veterinary and dental practices, hospitals, research, and industrial sectors, dealing with radioactive materials and medical exposures such as in radiological applications, are in accordance with legislative criteria to provide assurance to those involved that they are safe from hazards and contamination.

Don’t Leave Things to Chance, Get Expert Advice

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After receiving your report, it pays to seek advice from an expert in radiation shielding. One of the most common mistakes in X-ray room radiation shielding installations happens when organisations misread the report.

For example, the report may show a plan that illustrates the walls that need lead lining with a specific ceiling height of 3 metres. However, it could also include a statement saying lead is only required to be 2 metres high. Missing this small detail could have cost you an extra 50% in lead-lining material. This can cause confusion and result in massively overspending on transport, products, and installation. Your best bet is to get in touch with our team at

Raybloc. As radiation shielding and X-ray safety specialists, we can assist you with any questions regarding the upgrading or rebuilding of your radiology area so that it adheres to standards.

How Can I Find an RPA for my Project?

Raybloc has an extensive list of RPAs that we work closely with to ensure our products are in full compliance with the latest regulations so that you can have the confidence that you are achieving your radiation protection needs whilst also providing high-quality products for your clients. You can find the link here.

FAQs

What does a radiation-protection adviser do?

A radiation-protection advisor is assigned at the beginning of a radiation-shielding project to ensure that the correct amounts of protection are specified for each wall, door, window, floor, and ceiling for rooms concealing sources of radiation. They will then make sure that these guidelines have been followed after the project has been installed to give the green light on using the room for its desired purpose.

Who can carry out the role of radiation protection advisor?

Only a certified RPA can provide a report to determine the level of protection required against sources of ionising radiation. Consult a suitable RPA for your project using our extensive list found here.

You’ll also find a vast range of fully accredited, protective equipment on our website.

Need help and advice? Download our eBook for a comprehensive guide.

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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.

Call today to speak to one of our x-ray protection experts on 01902 633383 or email enquiries@raybloc.co.uk
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