DENTAL PRACTICE ARTICLES
X-Ray Dosimeter Badges and the Occupational Health and Safety Act
Do you have an X-ray Safety Policy and Procedure in place? I was recently asked if it is necessary to wear x-rays dosimeters. The person who asked me the question was told that it is recommended but not mandatory to wear a dosimeter and they did not use them at her office.
Employers in Ontario must take all reasonable precautions to protect their employees from any potential hazards. All dental offices and their employees are required to observe and comply with the requirements of the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act and its regulations, specifically Ont. Reg. 861, regarding x-ray safety. The Healing Arts Radiation Protection Act (HARP), which is administered by the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care, and the X-Ray Safety Code, passed in 1985, is applicable to the dental profession. These regulations were developed by the Dental Advisory Committee to the HARP Commission, whose membership included practising dentists and dental educators. This legislation specifies operator qualifications and technical performance standards for x-ray machines and outlines the procedures and tests that are deemed necessary and their frequency in order to ensure the highest possible level of patient and operator safety. (source, RCDSO Dispatch, Spring 2006)
Section 12 of Regulation 861 under the Occupational Health and Safety Act reads as follows:
- All X-ray workers shall be provided with a suitable personal dosimeter that will provide an accurate measure of the does equivalent received. OH&S Act, Reg. 861, 12. (3).
- All X-Ray workers shall use the personal dosimeter as instructed by the dentist. OH&S Act Reg. 861, 12. (2)
- The employer shall ensure that the personal dosimeter provided to each worked is read accurately to give a measure of the does equivalent received by the worker and shall furnish to the worker the record of the worker’s radiation exposure.
- The employer shall verify that the dose equivalent mentioned in subsection (3) is reasonable and appropriate in the circumstances and shall notify an inspector of any dose equivalent that does not appear reasonable and appropriate
- The employer shall retain an X-Ray worker’s personal dosimeter records for a period of at least three years.
To be complaint with the Occupational Health and Safety Act, dentists should require their employees who are taking x-rays to wear personal dosimeters and have a policy in place that covers x-rays safety.
If you would like a sample copy of a policy and procedure regarding X-ray Safety, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
REFERENCES: RCDSO.org, Dispatch, Spring 2006, Occupational Health and Safety Act
QUOTE OF THE DAY: Open the door to safety: awareness is the key!