Too few radiation safety programs

New x-ray safety workshop

How prevalent is x-ray radiation risk within the manufacturing sector? Are manufacturers equipped to address this emerging risk? The Manufacturing Safety Alliance of BC
and Radiation Safety Institute of Canada conducted an exploratory review to find out.

“Without effective radiation risk and control programs, the continued growth and new applications of x-ray technologies are expected to increase the level of risk for workers,” says Steve Horvath, CEO of the RSIC. “A serious emerging health risk could impact the manufacturing industry.”

Cancers of various types are a potential outcome of occupational overexposure to radiation. That is why managing the risk of radiation exposure from industrial x-ray equipment is critical. Due to the long latency periods, sometimes decades later, connecting individual incidents of cancer to a specific workplace exposure will continue to be a challenge.

“A proactive approach to workplace radiation exposure, focused on prevention is not only a safe alternative, but a necessity,” says Manufacturing Safety Alliance of BC’s CEO Lisa McGuire.

A GROWING HIDDEN RISK

In 2018, the two organizations designed an online radiation awareness course and interactive survey to understand the prevalence of radiation risk and controls in manufacturing. The research found few well-developed radiation safety programs in place. In response, the RSIC and the Alliance have engaged in a new partnership to provide radiation education and support to organizations at risk.

NEW WORKSHOP ADDRESSES THE RISK

“Our successful partnership with the Alliance was built on their proven reputation among the BC manufacturing community for being credible, knowledgeable, and proactive on workplace health issues and emerging risks, and their ability to develop effective OHS management systems and workplace tools,” says Horvath.

A proactive approach to workplace radiation exposure, focused on prevention is not only a safe alternative, but a necessity.

“Our collaboration has resulted in practical solutions for BC employers to avoid potential health risks associated with new and developing x-ray source technologies,” Horvath adds.

“The hope is that it will help fill a void, help to improve radiation safety in the workplace and reduce radiationrelated injuries,” says White. The next step is to provide tools and resources for employers to learn the scope of risks, compliance levels and controls of radiation.

At Make It Safe in October, presenters from the Alliance and WorkSafeBC will deliver an introduction to this new workshop on x-ray safety.

“We don’t know everything that we need to when it comes to radiation, but we’re learning and the science is evolving,” says White.