Radiation Protection Requirements for Small Animal Veterinary X-Ray Radiography Diagnostics
X-Ray radiography is a commonly utilised non-invasive diagnostic tool in small animal veterinary practice using a variety of X-Ray techniques including conventional, dental, computed tomography (CT) and/or fluoroscopy.
The HSE have been undertaking an on-going programme of inspections on veterinary practices against, with continued evidence of a very high level of material non-compliance to IRR17. During the year 2021/22, 95 veterinary practices were inspected by HSE resulting in a material breach rate of approximately 80%.
It is important in the first place to identify and appoint a suitable Radiation Protection Adviser (RPA) who can give advice on the compliance requirements of the Ionising Radiation Regulations 2017 (IRR17).
The RPA will be well placed to give advice on the key applicable requirements of IRR17 including:
- The suitability (i.e. make/model) of X-Ray Sets to be used including method of mounting and the controls/trigger
- Need for exclusion and effective shielding in the X-Ray Suite including walls, doors, ceiling and floors
- Warning Devices – Externally mounted illuminated Warning Device outside each access door/point, automatically illuminated when X-Ray Generator is energised and should be of a fail to safe design basis
- Mains Electrical Isolation Point for the X-Ray Generator which is accessible without entering the useful beam (i.e. normally located outside the room) and suitably labelled
- Door Interlocks – fail to safe design basis, only normally utilised with high risker X-Ray Generators such as CT Scanners
- Suitable Hazard Warning/Area Designation Signage on each access door/point. The inside of X-Ray Suite is normally a Radiation Controlled Area (RCA)
- Suitable System of Work – captured in the Radiation Risk Assessment and Local Rules including Authorised Users wearing suitable wholebody/skin TLDs, Appointment of one or more Radiation Protection Supervisors (RPSs), Pre-Use Safety Checks, Access Control to X-Ray Suite, Optimisation of Exposure (e.g. correct selection of exposure settings, sedation/anaesthetic vs manual restraint, suitable positioning aids are used, lead shielding on/in examination table)
- Routine Equipment Examination, Maintenance and Test, typically undertaken annually. Formal Handover of Radiation Controlled Areas/X-Ray Sets to Service Engineers recorded
- Suitable Contingency Plans established based on reasonably foreseeable Radiation Accident scenarios and subject to routine rehearsal
- Radiation Protection Training of Authorised Users/RPS subject to refresher training
- Evidence of management oversight and routine inspection
- Obtain a HSE Registration Certificate for the use of a Radiation Generator (i.e. X-Ray Set).L2 Business Consulting Limited are an HSE recognised RPA Body with extensive experience in Veterinary X-Ray Radiography Diagnostics who can provide advice to Employers on the radiation protection matters.
L2 Business Consulting Limited are an HSE recognised RPA Body with extensive experience in Veterinary X-Ray Radiography Diagnostics who can provide advice to Employers on the radiation protection matters.