03 Apr Why Do I Need to Wear an Apron While Taking X-Rays?
Professionals who operate x-rays are putting themselves at risk of radiation exposure every time they take an x-ray if they aren’t abiding by safety standards. This exposure on a per test basis seems insignificant but when multiplied by the number of x-rays a technician performs in a year, that drastically changes the amount of exposure and risk your employees are being subjected to on a regular basis. Wearing the proper apron can dramatically reduce their risk of exposure.
It’s important that the current safety regulations are in place for anyone who operates the x-ray equipment. An individual not wearing proper gear needs to be at least 6 feet away from the x-ray tube in order to not receive a dose of radiation. The appropriate protection garments include aprons, gloves, thyroid collars and/or glasses. Dosimetry badges also need to be worn at the collar level, outside of the apron.
Lead garments and shields are an essential part of proper x-ray procedures because they protect you from unnecessary exposure to radiation. Here are just three reasons why anyone who works with x-rays needs to wear the correct protective garments.
- Radiation Scatters
The 6-foot rule is in place for a reason. Radiation can backscatter, so even if you are not directly next to your x-ray equipment, you can still be exposed. We see this scatter often at our veterinary clients. When they collimate down to the area of interest on the animal they are x-raying, their hands will show up on the x-rays even though their hands are not in the collimated light field. This is due to scatter. Lead gloves should always be worn when holding animals for x-rays.
- Lead Aprons Reduce the Radiation Dose to the Reproductive Organs
It is essential that all individuals of a reproductive age wear lead aprons when they are taking x-rays as radiation has the potential of causing germ cell mutations that can be passed on to future generations. While research suggests that the doses necessary to produce any genetic damages are very high, much higher than the radiation from an x-ray, keeping organs safe from unnecessary radiation exposure is still very important and shouldn’t be underestimated. Regardless of your age, lead aprons prevent unnecessary occupational exposure.
- Lead Shields Protect the Thyroid from Developing Thyroid Cancer
Lead shields can protect technicians from an excess radiation dose and keep the thyroid safe from radiation exposure. Although the risk is rather low, too much radiation can increase an individual’s chances of developing thyroid cancer.
Lead garments are essential for anyone taking x-rays, and they should be visually inspected on an annual basis to make sure these aprons are in proper working condition.
Unfortunately, many technicians today learn by example and while they are on-the-job and if they start working in an office where safety measures are not taken seriously, they may unknowingly be putting themselves at risk.
With regular training and some refresher courses for existing technicians, your office can feel confident that anyone working near x-ray machines is following the proper protocol they need to keep themselves safe. Radiation is not something to be messed around with, and while aprons can be heavy and cumbersome, they can help protect any person from potential issues down the road.
If you have any questions or need to order any aprons, contact the experts at iRad today for more information.