5 Challenges Companies Face When Out Of Compliance With Their Dosimetry Program

September 9, 2022 | Dosimetry

5 Challenges Companies Face When Out Of Compliance With Their Dosimetry Program

Maintaining a dosimetry program is critical for all businesses that use radiation in their operations. A dosimetry program helps to ensure that occupational dose levels are kept within safe limits and helps to protect employees from the potential health risks associated with radiation exposure. It’s important to ensure that your dosimetry program is reliable, accurate and employees are properly trained in its use.

Businesses that don’t comply with dosimetry requirements face a number of implications, whether it’s due to internal management issues or vendor problems. In this blog, we’ll cover:

  1. What causes companies to fall out of compliance?
  2. 5 challenges that companies face when a dosimetry program isn’t maintained.
  3. 4 tips for maintaining a strong dosimetry program.

First, what can cause companies to fall out of compliance with their Radiation Protection Plan?

Employees lose their personal dosimeters.

It’s frustrating when things don’t go according to plan and issues arise from lost dosimetry badges. Not only are you stuck having to pay unreturned badge fees, but you also need to fill out extra paperwork to have radiation doses reported for those dosimeters. If you miss doing that you could be cited or fined for non-compliance during an audit.

Companies miss their dosimetry exchange periods.

Missed dosimetry exchange periods can often be due to turnover within the company, having multiple job functions, and managing multiple sites. When key personnel leave or are reassigned, it can disrupt the flow of work and lead to missed deadlines. This can be especially problematic when it comes to exchanging dosimetry information, as any delay can have serious implications.

To avoid these issues, companies should put in place processes and protocols that ensure dosimetry continuity even in the event of personnel changes.

Vendors are unable to supply dosimeters.

Another common reason for companies to fall out of compliance is when their dosimetry service vendor is unable to provide the badges needed to meet the required monitoring period. This can be due to a variety of reasons such as production delays, shipping problems, or inventory issues. When this happens, it’s important to find a dosimetry service that will allow you to maintain compliance with your radiation safety program.

Now that we’ve covered some of the reasons why companies might fall out of compliance, let’s take a look at five challenges that businesses face when they’re not in compliance with their dosimetry program:

What challenges do companies face when they don’t follow their dosimetry program?

If you are unable to meet the requirements of your Radiation Protection Plan (RPP), there are some challenges ahead, such as:

Challenge #1 – You could be fined for non-compliance

If you don’t comply with radiation dosimetry monitoring requirements, you could face a number of fines from regulatory agencies. Non-compliance can range from not having up-to-date employee occupational dose records to not following the dosimetry program defined in your Radiation Protection Plan. You could even be paying the cost for something that is outside of your control, such as vendor supply chain issues.

It’s important to ensure that you have a reliable source of dosimeters so that you can continue to monitor employee occupational radiation dose levels and protect them from potential exposure. Fines for violations can be costly and can damage the reputation of your company. That’s why it’s important to ensure that your radiation safety program complies with all applicable regulations.

Challenge #2 – You can’t hire/onboard new staff if you can’t obtain an x-ray badge

If you can’t obtain a radiation dosimeter, you won’t be able to hire or onboard new staff if they work with radioactive material such as x-rays or x-ray generating devices. This is because dosimeters, or body badges, are required to measure the amount of radiation that an employee is exposed to.

Without dosimeters, you can’t track employee radiation dose levels. You won’t be able to ensure that they are kept within safe levels or don’t exceed dose limits. Without a dosimetry badge, employees working around radiation won’t be able to start work which can cause delays in your operations and can lead to a loss of productivity.

Typically whole body x-ray badges are worn to estimate the effective dose received. However, there are multiple badge types available based on the radiation environment as well as what’s stated on your radioactive materials and/or x-ray license. Therefore it’s important to have a reliable source of dosimeters so that you can continuously hire and onboard new staff.

Challenge #3 – Unknowingly risk the health of your staff to ionizing radiation

If you don’t have dosimeters, you won’t be able to monitor employee radiation dose levels. This can lead to unassessed health risks for employees. When radiation monitoring requirements are not followed, employees are at risk of exposure to harmful ionizing radiation. This can lead to several health problems, including cancer or birth defects.

It’s important to ensure that your employees receive effective doses that are below occupational exposure limits determined by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). By maintaining a dosimetry program that meets all applicable requirements and maintaining doses as-low-as-reasonably-achievable (ALARA).

Challenge #4 – Open your company up to corporate liability

If someone is injured due to an effective dose that exceeds monitoring threshold limits set by the NRC at your company, your company could be held liable. This is because companies have a duty of care to protect their employees from potential risks, including exposure to harmful ionizing radiation.

If you don’t have a dosimetry program in place, or if your dosimetry program is not up to date, you could be held liable for any injuries that occur due to an employee occupational dose rate above the allowable limit. This can lead to several expensive legal problems and can damage the reputation of your company. It’s important to maintain quality assurance that your dosimetry program is up to date and that it meets all applicable requirements.

Maintaining a dosimetry program can be challenging, but it’s important to ensure that your employees are protected from potential health risks. By following dosimetry monitoring requirements, you can avoid costly fines, and you can protect your employees from the potential health risks associated with exposure to ionizing radiation.

Challenge #5 – Missing protocols can lead to decreased morale due to a lack of importance placed on the safety of staff

When radiation dosimetry standards are not met, employees may feel that their safety isn’t a priority for the company. This can lead to a breakdown of trust between employees and management which can cause a decline in employee morale. It’s important to ensure that radiation safety is a top priority for your company and that employees are properly trained in radiation safety procedures.

Radiation dosimetry measurement standards are in place to monitor and protect employees from the potential health risks associated with radiation exposure. By ensuring that your dosimetry program is in compliance with all applicable regulations, you can avoid costly fines, and protect your employees from potential health risks.

4 Tips to maintain a compliant Dosimetry Program

Tip 1: Use a badge board system to track dosimeters

By using a radiation badge board to help store and organize badges daily, you can save money and reduce the headache of yet another lost body badge. It costs less than you’re currently spending on missing badge fees and helps you maintain a better program. Having a plan in action can help eliminate extra work and stress as well as lost productivity if employees forget their dosimeters at home.

Dosimetry Badge Board

Here are some helpful tips we’ve gathered to help maintain a good radiation badge program. 

  • Keep an “end of the day” routine where badges are checked in. A badge board makes it easy to see if any are missing at the end of the day. This is also a good visual indicator if dosimeters are being worn during employees working hours.
  • When returning badges, have a check-off list to make sure all issued badges make it in the return envelope. If possible have someone double-check it.
  • Pay attention to the wear period dates listed on the badge to make sure you’re sending back the previous cycle (and not the current one).

The badge board can be placed away from any radioactive source to neatly keep your badges in order. A swift glance and you can see if anything is missing. This is a quick and easy way to ensure all badges are accounted for at the end of each day. 

Tip 2: Keep a spare dosimeter for new employees

Keep a “spare” dosimeter on hand for new hires. This will save you from having to pay rush fees when someone is hired and needs their badge right away. New employees can be given the spare until their own arrives in the mail. You’ll end up spending less in the cost of a badge than you would pay for expedited shipping. Plus you won’t waste any payroll dollars by having employees unable to perform key job functions due to a lack of appropriate equipment.

Tip 3: Appoint a Radiation Safety Officer

Appointing a Radiation Safety Officer (RSO) or dosimetry coordinator is a great way to ensure that your dosimetry program is up to date and compliant with all applicable regulations. The RSO can be responsible for maintaining the dosimetry program, training employees in radiation procedures, and ensuring that all equipment is properly maintained and calibrated.

Radiation safety is a vital part of any workplace and by ensuring that your dosimetry program is compliant with all applicable regulations, you can avoid costly fines and protect your employees from the potential health risks associated with ionizing radiation.

Tip 4: Maintain a reliable dosimetry vendor that can meet your exchange requirements.

When looking for a dosimetry provider, it’s important to find one that can offer you a reliable exchange program. This way, you can be sure that you will always have the badges you need and that they’ll be properly calibrated. Things to look for when choosing a provider:

  • Are they able to show on-time performance? By maintaining an active quality assurance program, dosimetry providers should be able to meet basic customer requirements such as on-time shipping. Delays caused by supply chain issues, or operational inefficiencies from the provider can mean you as the customer are not able to meet requirements.
  • How long does it take to receive the dose report after returning badges to the facility? A dosimetry service is ultimately designed to produce a final product: the dose report. If the dosimetry provider is unable to produce a dose report in a timely manner, that means that you as the customer don’t have visibility into the effectiveness of your dosimetry program.
  • Are you able to reach a service agent when you need to make changes to your dosimetry program? There is nothing more frustrating than not being able to reach a service agent when you need them most. By testing the company’s customer service capabilities, you’ll make sure you’re not stuck fending for yourself.
Customer service rep

By following these tips, you can ensure that your company is in compliance with dosimetry standards and that your employees are protected from the potential health risks associated with radiation exposure.

Maintaining compliance with regulations is critical for companies. However, it can be challenging to stay in compliance when changes occur within the company or new challenges arise.

Our team at Radiation Detection Company has built the most reliable dosimetry service to make sure our customers meet compliance needs. If you have any questions about maintaining compliance or need help selecting a plan that’s right for you, please contact us.

Our team of experts would be happy to discuss your specific situation and provide recommendations based on over 70 years of experience providing quality dosimetry service to more than 27,000 companies nationwide.

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