Module - Radiation Safety Physics (SPE102)


Aim of this module

To introduce the trainee to legislation, policies, procedures and the practical implementation of radiation safety in healthcare.

Work-based learning outcomes

  1. Produce a design specification for planned new facilities or services requiring a radiation risk assessment, which includes essential control features.
  2. Calibrate and test equipment that measures radiation and perform a safety assessment of a radiation facility.
  3. Undertake a simple audit of an area where radiation is used according to local standard operating procedures.
  4. Use the results of patient dose audit to assess and interpret the optimisation of practices.
  5. Participate in measurements of image quality and patient dose for the same practice.
  6. Select and use appropriate instruments and test equipment to measure and record levels and characteristics of radiation.
  7. Assist in implementing safe and effective working practices in radiation areas, including response to radiation incidents and contingency planning.
  8. Critically appraise the content of local rules against legislative requirements for ionising and non-ionising radiation settings.

Work-based Competencies

Learning outcome Title Knowledge
1 1

Undertake risk assessment for a radiation facility.

  • Methods of risk assessment.
  • Sources and extent of hazards.
  • Hazards and their significance.
2 1

Undertake room design from first principles for a diagnostic X-ray facility and surgical laser facility.

  • Properties of the radiation source.
  • Methods of control of radiation levels in the facility.
  • Design constraints and how to meet them by calculation and prediction.
3 1

Specify the design and control features for each of the facilities.

  • Shielding materials and construction.
  • Safety mechanisms and warning systems.
  • Planning and design for radiation safety.
4 1

In conjunction with the user develop the local rules procedures for the new facilities.

  • Routine work undertaken within the facility.
  • Application of relevant requirements of Ionising Radiation Regulations (IRR) 1999 and CAORaW.
  • Factors influencing safe use of the intended radiation sources and their relative significance.
5 2

Compare the design features and control systems of a facility with the specified design.

  • Radiation characteristics of the equipment within the facility.
  • Characteristics of the radiation source.
  • Radiation intensity.
6 2

Calibrate and test equipment that measures radiation and obtain measurements required and the safety features to be tested as part of the critical examination.

  • Measurement of radiation levels and characteristics.
  • Functional testing of control features and their failure modes.
7 2

Compare the results of the critical examination with relevant legislation, standards and guidance.

  • Apply legislation and guidance relevant to new facilities.
8 2

Report findings of the critical examination and make recommendations for improvements within specified timescale.

  • Interpretation of compliance with legislation and guidance.
  • Reasonable foreseeable incidents and their likelihood.
9 2

Confirm acceptability of radiation levels within the defined area or distance from the source.

  • Methods of exposure control and their effectiveness.
10 2

Confirm that warning devices, interlocks and safety cut-off mechanisms are fully operational.

11 3

Assess audit reports, actions plans and outcomes against legislative requirements.

  • The role of audit in assuring compliance with requirements for radiation safety.
12 3

Undertake a simple audit of an area where radiation is used according to local standard operating procedures.

  • Framework for audit of radiation dose to patients.
  • Framework for monitoring radiation dose to staff.
  • Objective assessment of legislative requirements.
  • The role of service documentation in compliance with radiation safety.
  • Analysis of compliance and interpretation of legislation.
  • Reporting of findings commensurate with the intended audience.
  • Principles of assurance and continuous improvement.
13 3

Report findings; specify degree of compliance, recommendations for further action and date of follow-up review.

  • Audit cycle.
14 4

Participate in, or review, patient dose audit data to assess optimisation including the use of diagnostic reference levels.

  • Principles for optimisation of practices involving radiation.
15 5

Undertake measurements to assess patient dose and image quality in a plain X-ray or fluoroscopy room.

  • Current practices within the service involving the use of radiation.
  • Means of measuring, calculating and estimating representative doses to patients.
  • The relevant dose quantities.
  • Patient factors affecting dose.
  • Link between radiation doses and diagnostic outcomes.
  • Limitations of measurement devices used.
16 5

Review the outcome of image quality and patient dose measurements and recommend  optimisation strategies.

  • The influence of dose on image quality and options for clinical assessment.
  • Acceptable range of doses to patients.
  • Factors affecting radiation doses received by a range of patient groups.
  • The requirements of the relevant radiation legislation or guidance.
  • Current developments relating to reduction of dose/exposure.
17 6

Select appropriate monitor or dosemeter for the type(s) of radiation to be measured for a range of ionising and non-ionising radiation.

  • Radiation measurement devices, their application and limitations.
18 6

Ensure selected device is in working order and within calibration.

  • Calibration, traceability and instrument function.
  • Constancy  testing/calibration check.
19 6

Perform the full range of measurement activities specified, using a range of recording methods.

  • Measurement methods, dose/dose rate, quantity and units.
20 6

Record the results of measurements accurately and in correct format.

  • Acceptable and permissible range of radiation levels
  • Alternative strategies to verify findings or resolve uncertainties
21 6

Interpret the significance of measurements and draw conclusions.

22 7

Critically appraise contingency plans within local rules.

  • Contingency plans and their requirements.
23 7

Identify and plan an exercise to rehearse contingency plans (eg contamination incident, loss of source).

  • Procedures and policies for the management and control of incidents involving radiation.
  • Practical execution of a contingency plan.
  • Training requirements.
24 7

Analyse recent radiation incidents and summarise the types and causes of incidents

  • Radiation incidents, their investigation and reporting.
  • Causes and significance of radiation incidents.
25 7

Participate in the investigation of a radiation incident.

  • Organisational management of incidents involving radiation.
26 8

Perform a critical appraisal of the content of local rules against legislative requirements for ionising and non-ionising radiation settings.

  • Requirements of IRR1999 and guidance for a range of applications.
  • Organisational policies for radiation protection.
  • Procedures for management and control of radiation.
  • Understand and discuss procedures for control of equipment generating radiation and of the radiation emitted.
  • Arrangements for the control of radioactive materials for an organisation.
  • The role of policy in achieving compliance with legislation.
  • Roles and responsibilities.
  • Systems for developing and adopting policy.
  • Ionising Radiation (Medical Exposures) Regulations procedural framework for an organisation.

Work-based assessment

Complete 1 Case-Based Discussion(s)
Complete 1 of the following DOPS and/or OCEs
Type Title
DOPS Carry out measurements to assess patient dose for a radiographic procedure
DOPS Organise and record the outcome of rehearsal of a contingency plan
DOPS Choose an appropriate instrument and carry out an environmental survey of a radiation facility