Action Plan for Health and Safety Reps
As with all workplace hazards, ionising radiation should be dealt with in this way:
- Identification of the hazard (see information on the hazard, below)
- Assessment of the risk
- Elimination or reduction of the risk
- Review and evaluation of any control strategies.
1 - Identification of hazard
- Ensure your employer identifies any sources of ionising radiation and undertakes monitoring;
- Ensure your employer monitors all workers who may be exposed to ionising radiation using a dosemeter, which is worn as a badge attached to clothing. At monthly intervals the dosemeter should be sent to a laboratory where the radiation exposure can be read
- Note it is likely that your employer will need to employ someone with the relevant expertise to do this. The employer has a duty under Section 22(2)(b) of the OHS Act to employ or engage someone who is 'suitably qualified'.
- Talk to members of your work group about the hazards of radiation and their control, and any effects they may be experiencing on a regular basis;
- Investigate any past incidents.
2 - Assessment of risk
- Ensure the employer assesses results of monitoring - keep a check on results;
- Ensure your employer has an effective incident reporting procedure in place to record actual and potential exposure to radiation, unsafe conditions, and workers.
3 - Elimination/reduction of risk
Ensure your employer controls the risks of radiation following the preferred order of control methods:
- takes all measures possible to avoid exposure;
- isolates all sources of radiation by shielding, containment or remote handling;
- maintains all radiation generating equipment in order to minimise radiation emitted and prevent any 'leakages';
- implements engineering controls to reduce radiation levels;
- develops safe practices work practices and procedures, and ensures they are followed;
- provides suitable protective clothing and administrative controls, including job rotation and rest breaks, to limit the amount of time employees are exposed, where engineering controls are unavailable or ineffective to reduce exposure levels;
- provides adequate information and training on any radiation hazards in the workplace. Training should include information on the sources of the radiation, the health effects, the control procedures in place and how they are monitored, safe work practices, personal protective equipment (PPE), emergency procedures and radiation monitoring programs where appropriate;
- maintains all controls implemented;
- develops back up options emergency procedures in the case of control measures failing.
The VTHC believes that the National occupational exposure standard of 20mSv per year, averaged over a period of 5 consecutive years, is too high.
4 - Review
- the employer maintains on-going monitoring of the environment and worker exposure to check effectiveness of control methods;
- you take up any immediate issues with your employer. Contact your union for further information and advice.
The Radiation Act 2005 - the purpose of which is "to protect the health and safety of all persons and the environment from the harmful effects of radiation" - commenced in Victoria on 1 September 2007, and gives effect to Victoria's commitment to the National Directory for Radiation Protection (NDRP), which outlines a common approach to be undertaken by Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments towards the management of radiation protection.