Radiation is the emission of energy from a source that can travel from one place to another. It can break chemical bonds in compounds.
This ionizing radiation includes alpha and beta particles, gamma rays, x-rays, and cosmic rays. They have several uses, such as medical x-rays and radio wave broadcasting. This radiation is very strong. Prolonged exposure to it can lead to severe circumstances, including early death. Therefore, protection from radiation is an essential precaution taken through ways such as lead shielding.
If you’ve ever been in the radiology department of the hospital, the multiple warning signs against the radiation in the area might seem alarming. However, it is for the protection of both the patients and the medical staff. Working in a place where there is high-frequency radiation requires implementing ways to reduce the number of exposure workers get to the radiation. ALARA stands for As Low As Reasonably Achievable and is a safety principle against harmful radiation. There are three major concepts associated with this principle:
It might seem obvious that the less amount of time that an individual is exposed to radiation, the better. Medical staff and professionals need to be mindful of the number of hours they are around radiation. Some facilities have made it mandatory for workers to keep track of this time using dosimeters. A dosimeter is a scientific tool for measuring the amount of exposure to ionizing radiation in a period. The best practice would be the close-off of the area of radiation from the larger, general work area using lead shielding for radiation shielding.
The greater the distance from the radiation source, the lesser its impact, and the lesser the exposure. A good comparison is that with a light bulb. The closer you stand to the light bulb, the stronger the light is. As you move away, its light becomes weaker and less blinding than if you were to stand with your eyes right on level with it.
There are certain products and materials used that can absorb harmful radiation. Essentially, it forms a layer of protection against the user and radiation source. There are many forms of shielding. Lead aprons, thyroid collars, lead glasses, and lead gloves are all examples of protective gear used as shields. In a medical setting, lead shielding is more appropriate. Scatter drapes and lead barriers are also recommended.
The best practices need to be followed to ensure the workers’ health that risks their lives for their work. This includes decreasing exposure time as much as possible, keeping as large of a distance between you and the radiation source, and using as many shielding methods as possible.
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