Radiation Safety Physics (SPE102)

10 credits

Aim of this module

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

  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.
Number Work-based learning outcome Title Knowledge
1 1

Undertake risk assessment for a radiation facility.

2 1

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

3 1

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

4 1

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

5 2

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

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.

7 2

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

8 2

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

9 2

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

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.

12 3

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

13 3

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

14 4

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

15 5

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

16 5

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

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.

18 6

Ensure selected device is in working order and within calibration.

19 6

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

20 6

Record the results of measurements accurately and in correct format.

21 6

Interpret the significance of measurements and draw conclusions.

22 7

Critically appraise contingency plans within local rules.

23 7

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

24 7

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

25 7

Participate in the investigation of a radiation incident.

26 8

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

You must complete
1 Case-based discussion(s)
1 of the following DOPS / OCEs
Assessment Title Type
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 DOPS

Important information

The academic parts of this module will be detailed and communicated to you by your university. Please contact them if you have questions regarding this module and its assessments. The module titles in your MSc may not be exactly identical to the work-based modules shown in the e-portfolio. Your modules will be aligned, however, to ensure that your academic and work-based learning are complimentary.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Describe the legislation that applies to safe working within the radiation, workshop and clinical environemnts. 
  2. Explain the physical principles behind the interaction of radiation with matter.
  3. Describe the basis of clinical measurements. 
  4. Discuss and evaluate the role of Medical Physics in innovation and service development.

Indicative Content

  • X-rays, electrons (betas), neutrons, alpha and other particles
  • Radioactivity units and relationships
  • X-ray production
  • Physical effects of radiation
  • Interaction processes with matter
  • Measurement and instrumentation
  • Biological effects of ionising radiation
  • Non-ionising radiations including ultraviolet (UV), radiofrequency (RF) and microwaves, lasers, infrared, magnetic fields and ultrasound
  • Radiation safety: dose limits; national and international organisations and recommendations; legislation; principles of protection, safe practice, monitoring and reporting applied to:
    • ionising radiation
    • UV, microwave, RF and magnetic fields, lasers and ultrasound


  • Health and safety legislation specific to division
  • Risk assessment techniques
  • Chemical safety: COSHH, hazards, storage, use and disposal
  • Electrical safety: medical equipment, leakage currents, fault conditions, isolation and circuit protection; biological/physiological response to electric shock; treatment of electric shock; equipment testing
  • Mechanical safety: lifting gear; guards and operation of machine and hand tools, eye and ear protection; fumes, dusts, moving and handling
  • Biological safety: pathological and normal specimens; blood and other tissues; equipment contamination, cleaning, cross-contamination; handling procedures and protocols
  • Theatre safety: anaesthetic agents, explosion hazard, waste gas extraction, function checks, obstacles, sterility
  • Workshop safety
  • Personal Protective Equipment

Innovation and Service Improvement

  • Role of Medical Physics and Clinical Engineering in innovation and service improvement
  • Project management
  • Process mapping
  • Equipment life cycle
  • Specification, procurement, installation and commissioning
  • Critical review of protocols, techniques and equipment
  • Health Technology Assessment
  • Horizon scanning