The Ionising Radiations Regulations 2017

Update of UK Implementation of EU Directive 2013/59/EURATOM

The new Ionising Radiations Regulations (IRR17) have now been published and will come into force from 1st January 2018 and from this date completely revoke and supersede the Ionising Radiations Regulations 1999. The new regulations build upon the system of radiological protection developed in the UK over a number of years and update it to implement the requirements of the EU Basic Safety Standards Directive (2013/59/EURATOM). The related revision of the ACoP is available in draft form and will be finalised in the coming weeks.

L2 provide our clients with advice on compliance to IRR17 by appointment as Radiation Protection Advisers (RPA) and are recognised by Health & Safety Executive (HSE) as an RPA Body. If you need advice on radiological protection, the compliance requirements relating to IRR17 and/or training then please get in touch to discuss your requirements and issues.

This news article provides a summary of the requirements of IRR17 and is broken down by the seven parts of the new regulations themselves:

Part 1 (Preliminary, Regulations 1 to 4)

Defines the terms used in and the scope of application of the regulations. A refinement from IRR99 includes the definition of an employer which includes a self-employed person and an employee which includes a self-employed person and a trainee. New definitions include Industrial radiography and relevant doctor. Part 1 also defines the practices which the regulations apply and to work which is undertaken in an atmosphere containing radon-222 gas above a specified annual average activity concentration in air.

Part 2 (General Principles and Procedures, Regulations 5 to 13)

Regulation 5 requires certain work with ionising radiation to be notified to the appropriate authority (either the HSE or, where the work relates to particular nuclear-related sites the ONR).

Regulation 6 requires all practices to be registered with the appropriate authority other than those specifically excluded from registration. Regulation 7 requires an employer to obtain a consent from the appropriate authority to carry out certain practices.

One of the major changes introduced by IRR17 is the introduction of a risk-based approach to telling HSE of the specific work undertaken with ionising radiation. The new graded approach introduces three distinct tiers:

  • Notification
  • Registration
  • Consent

Employers will need to submit specific information to HSE between 1st January 2018 and 5th February 2018 using an online portal (there is also a small fee to pay for registration and consent), even if the employer has previously provided information under IRR99. This portal is not yet operational. The draft question set proposed by HSE is now available for review.

Regulations 8 to 13:

(a) require employers to make a suitable and sufficient prior assessment (of new activities for which there is no existing assessment) of the risks arising from their work with ionising radiation, to make an assessment of the hazards likely to arise from that work and to prevent and limit the consequences of identifiable radiation accidents;

(b) require employers to take all reasonable steps to restrict as far as is reasonably practicable the extent to which employees and other persons are exposed to ionising radiation;

(c) require respiratory protective equipment used in work with ionising radiation to conform with agreed standards and require all personal protective equipment and other controls to be regularly examined and properly maintained;

(d) impose limits (specified in Schedule 3) on the doses of ionising radiation which

employees and other persons may receive;

(e) require in certain circumstances the preparation of contingency plans for radiation accidents which are reasonably foreseeable.

Part 3 (Arrangements for the Management of Radiation Protection, Regulations 14 to 16)

IRR17 still requires that employers consult Radiation Protection Advisers in respect of matters specified in Schedule 4 and that employers ensure that adequate training/ refresher is given to employees and other persons. Employers are required to co-operate by exchanging information to enable compliance by others with requirements to limit the exposure of employees to ionising radiation.

Part 4 (Designated Areas, Regulations 17 to 20)

IRR17 specifies that:

(a) provide that areas in which persons need to follow special procedures to restrict exposure or in which persons are likely to receive more than specified doses of ionising radiation be designated as Controlled or Supervised Areas;

(b) restrict entry into controlled areas to specified persons and circumstances;

(c) require employers engaged in radiation work to set out appropriate Local Rules for Controlled or Supervised areas and to appoint radiation protection supervisors for the purpose of securing compliance with the Regulations;

(d) impose specified duties upon employers in relation to outside workers;

(e) require radiation levels to be monitored in controlled or supervised areas and provide for the maintenance and testing of monitoring equipment.

Part 5 (Classification and Monitoring of Persons, Regulations 21 to 27)

IRR17 requires that employees who are likely to receive more than specified doses of ionising radiation be designated as Classified Persons, that doses received by classified persons be assessed by suitable approved dosimetry services and that records of such doses are made and kept for each such person.

This part also covers:

(a) certain employees to be subject to medical surveillance;

(b) any cases in which an employee has received an overexposure to be investigated and notified to the appropriate authority;

(c) investigations to be made where employees are exposed above specified levels;

(d) modified dose limits for employees who have received an overexposure.

Part 6 (Arrangements for the Control of Radioactive Substances, Articles and Equipment, Regulations 28 to 34)

This part address:

(a) require that where a radioactive substance is to be used as a source of ionising radiation, it should, whenever reasonably practicable, be in the form of a sealed source and that any articles embodying or containing radioactive substances are suitably designed, constructed, maintained and tested;

(b) cover the accounting for, keeping and moving of radioactive substances and require that incidents in which more than specified quantities of radioactive substances escape or are lost or stolen be notified to the appropriate authority;

(c) impose duties on manufacturers etc. and installers of articles for use in work with ionising radiation to ensure that such articles are designed, constructed and installed so as to restrict, so far as is reasonably practicable, exposure to ionising radiation;

(d) impose similar duties upon employers in relation to equipment used for medical

exposures together with additional duties in relation to the testing and safe operation of such equipment;

(e) require employers to investigate any defect in medical equipment which may have resulted in a person receiving a dose of ionising radiation much greater than was intended and to notify the appropriate authority of such incidents;

(f) prohibit interference with sources of ionising radiation.

Part 7 (Duties of Employees and Miscellaneous, Regulations 35 to 43)

The regulations impose duties upon employees engaged in carrying out work with ionising radiation including:

(a) provide for the approval of dosimetry services by the HSE;

(b) provide for a defence on contravention of certain regulations;

(c) provide for exemptions to be granted by the appropriate authority;

(d) extend the provision of the Regulations outside Great Britain;

(e) contain transitional provisions; and

(f) introduces modifications relating to the Ministry of Defence and visiting forces.