A radiation safety officer (RSO) is a person who has been trained on the safe use of radiation-producing machines and materials in the workplace. They ensure that all radiation-producing machines and materials are operated following applicable regulations, standards and procedures.
Who typically employs radiation safety officers?
Entities that are typically required to have RSOs include:
- Doctors and other medical practitioners that operate X-ray devices.
- Airport security offices.
- Medical and scientific research facilities.
- Certain construction companies.
- Companies that mine or transport radioactive materials.
To be an RSO, a person must receive training from a certified trainer and will typically have to pass an exam at the conclusion of their training.
7 things that should be covered in radiation safety officer training
Radiation safety officer training teaches learners how to protect themselves from radiation and what to do if something goes wrong. As radiation safety regulations and equipment change, regular training is essential.
Here are seven things that should be covered in radiation safety officer training:
- Radiation protection principles — Radiation, including alpha and beta particles and gamma rays, should be understood by your employees. They need to understand how radiation affects the body. In addition, they should know what units are used to measure radiation exposure and why those measurements are essential.
- Proper use of radiation protection devices — Being an RSO involves knowing when to use radiation protection devices, such as dosimeters and film badges. These devices are used by many companies, but they come with strict guidelines regarding usage. Failure to follow these guidelines could have disastrous results. For example, if a dosimeter is used incorrectly, it may not correctly detect dangerous levels of radiation exposure.
- Knowledge of when radiation exposure could occur — Employees that work with equipment containing radioactive materials or the materials themselves are at risk of being exposed to ionizing radiation. Your company’s RSOs should be trained to identify potential areas and situations where radiation exposure could occur.
- Information about radiation interactions — Radiation interaction is a term used to describe the collective effects of radiation on matter. RSOs are required to understand how radiation of various types can interact with the matter around it, including the human body.
- How to decontaminate an area — Your RSOs must learn how to address various forms of radioactive contamination. This helps them ensure that your workers aren’t being exposed to excessive radiation. They should be trained to use survey meters and contamination monitors to determine the extent of the contamination. They should also know how to perform decontamination steps like taking air samples, wiping down surfaces and properly disposing of contaminated waste.
- How to check radiation detection and monitoring equipment — Radiation safety programs are based on radiation detection and monitoring equipment (RDME). However, this equipment can develop issues that keep it from operating properly. A company’s RSOs should have the training necessary to ensure that any RDME is operating properly.
- Recordkeeping requirements — RSOs are responsible for keeping many records. It is critical that your RSOs understand what needs to be tracked and how long records need to be kept on file before they can be destroyed. Having this knowledge can help minimize dangerous and costly administrative errors.
Can Basin Safety help my company with radiation safety officer training?
Yes we can! At Basin Safety, our comprehensive RSO training includes the basics of radiation safety and protection, employee monitoring programs, dose assessment, radiation protection procedures and contamination prevention.
Helping your company develop and staff safety programs like radiation safety programs is a priority at Basin Safety. Contact us today to learn more about our RSO training and the radiation safety programs we offer.