Branch Meeting Report - 17th March 2016

11 April 2016

'Radiation in the Workplace’

This well attended presentation was given by Joanne Shaw, radiation specialist and group leader within the operations services department of Public Health England (PHE). Joanne gave an overview of the functions of PHE which include:
•    research work into the effects of ionising and non-ionising radiation;

•    radiation protection training;
•    technical and consultancy services; and
•    an advisory role both within the UK as well as overseas.

Joanne explained three key areas:

1.    Why we need radiation protection
Joanne described the health risks associated with radiation exposure and what it does to human beings. We are all subjected to a degree of background sources of radiation (e.g. natural radiation coming from radon gas) cosmic rays from the sun, and also in some cases medical exposure. Joanne then went onto explain (with pictures) a number of workplace exposures and how the skin tissue may be affected a long time after the exposure with burns on the inside, and blistering on the surface. Other health effects were also discussed, some of which can be problematic 5 to 10 years after exposure. These include radiation induced cancer, blood circulation diseases and heart disease.
2.    UK Legislation
Various Regulations including the Ionising Radiation Regulations 1999 (enforced by the HSE) and the Radioactive Substances Regulations (enforced by the Environment Agency) were discussed.
3.    Radiation in the Workplace
Joanne explained that radiation in the workplace applies across a broad spectrum of applications from smoke detectors to nuclear power stations. A number of practical examples were shown on the slides.

Joanne made the point that risk from radiation is very tolerable when compared with other life risks both at work and at home when controlled effectively. She went on to say that the use of ionising radiation should be subject to consideration of three principles:
1)    Justification, net benefit and alternative methods;
2)    Optimisation, as low as reasonably practicable; and
3)    the dose limit.

The presentation was followed by a lengthy question and answer session on specific situations which demonstrated the interest held by all those who attended, and a number of individuals stopped behind to discuss further their particular circumstances.

Podbean - Presentation
The Yorkshire Branch arranges its branch meetings in order to provide opportunities for members to meet, network with other members, ask questions and to attend informative presentations for free.
For those members who are unable to attend the meetings, or wish to re-visit presentations on particular subjects, with the speaker’s permission we record the presentations and convert these to Podcasts.

Unfortunately in this case due to various permission restrictions, we are unable to provide this resource for this presentation on podbean.