X-Ray Tag

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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

When it comes to meeting compliance rules and regulations regarding x-ray use, most professionals don’t have the time to verify if they are keeping up with all necessary documentation. It can be challenging to keep up with the demands of your office as well as keeping up with all of the additional paperwork and making sure your equipment is working correctly. Staff changes, overloaded desks, and busy schedules can all cause a piece of paperwork to be lost, or a required protocol to be forgotten in the shuffle.

The good news is, with an annual review, we can verify that you are not only keeping up with all of your necessary documentation and that your practice or facility is operating safely, but also keep you up to date with any state changes to compliance.

Here are three of the top reasons why you need to schedule your annual review today.

  1. Rules Change

The state rules and regulations governing x-ray equipment are continually being changed and updated. Unfortunately, most offices aren’t made aware of when these changes occur. With an annual review, you can make sure that you are compliant with all of the changes that have occurred in your state and that you not at risk of violating any of the new policies. For example, in the state of Texas, the current dental rules are currently being reviewed. The state is proposing new changes that will go into effect shortly if/when they are approved.

  1. New Staff

When new staff members join your team, it is important to ensure they are properly trained and that they are operating at a level that will allow them to work directly with the state inspector during an inspection. Procedures and policies can be a lot for any new staff member to take on. An annual review of your training protocols will allow us to set up procedures that are duplicable for your staff to properly train existing employees as well as future employees that will pass a state inspection.

  1. Keeping Your Equipment Up-to-Date

The state offers guidelines on how to maintain your X-ray and Laser equipment. If you have equipment changes, your units must be tested through Equipment Performance Evaluations (EPE’s) and your documents along with your x-ray certificate of registration will need to be amended. An annual review is a great place to start evaluating the performance of your equipment. Many offices who want to keep their new, state-of-the-art equipment running at its best or who are bringing in new equipment will typically schedule these reviews even more frequently.

Don’t Delay!

Of course, in addition to making sure that your practice is following protocols and your equipment is running correctly, an annual review can also make sure that you are ready if a state board inspector comes in unannounced and conducts an inspection. Failing to be up-to-date with all of your x-ray or laser equipment and procedures is one of the primary ways that businesses end up with hefty fines and violations.

If you are looking for more information on scheduling your annual x-ray or laser equipment review, contact the experts at iRad to request a quote or schedule a date. Give us a call!

The title of this blog may seem obvious to many of our medical and dental clients who frequently use X-Ray and Laser equipment to treat their patients. Still, your friendly compliance experts at iRad Consulting are noticing more and more where office personnel is unknowingly getting their company into hot water by testing their equipment on non-patients.

We would like to take this moment to inform our clients and staff that they should not take pictures of anyone other than patients. Doing so is a Level One violation with the state (the highest level of violations), and it comes with a $4,000 fine.

This topic came up recently when we heard of some installers of dental units asking staff to have their family members to come in to practice taking X-rays. Obviously, the family members are not coming in as patients. We also see this happen in a number of other situations, including:

o    Staff demonstrating the use of the equipment on each other during training sessions

o    Staff taking pictures of their own finger for the quality assurance protocol

o    Veterinarians taking pictures of staff (not pets) who are going to orthopedic doctors

What’s the harm in that, right? After all, you have to use something tangible to test your equipment.

The Department of State Health Services is very clear on this matter. Below is an excerpt for your reference:

Prohibited Acts:

  • 289.232(i)(2)(B) THE TEXT ON THE LEFT SIDE OF THE PAGE THE RULE LANGUAGE ON THE LEFT SIDE IS THE OFFICIAL ADOPTED RULE LANGUAGE AS OF THE PAGE CONTROLS ANY ISSUE PUBLISHED IN THE TEXAS ADMINISTRATIVE CODE (TAC). REGARDING COMPLIANCE WITH THE RULES. 232-49 (September 2004) (B) Individuals shall not be exposed to the useful beam except for healing arts purposes and unless such exposure has been authorized by a dentist. This provision specifically prohibits deliberate exposure for the following purposes: (i) exposure of an individual for training, demonstration, or other non-healing arts purposes.

If staff or parents are coming in as legitimate patients, it is completely acceptable to X-ray them. In any other circumstance, it is a violation. If installers are coming to your facility and need to test objects, they should use phantom objects, not people. Examples of phantom objects include everything from a stapler to a pen, cell phone, TV remote control or even an extracted tooth.

If you or your staff have any more questions regarding this or any other compliance matter, please give iRad Consulting a call. We help offices stay in compliance with state X-ray rules and regulations. We also track all the latest news and industry trends, so our clients don’t have to.

Please visit www.iradconsult.com, call us at (940) 453-2876, or email us at [email protected]

Our team at iRad Consulting tracks all the latest news and industry trends related to the myriad of state-mandated X-Ray and laser compliance rules and regulations. And why, you may ask? So our clients don’t have to.

Whether it’s keeping tabs on changes in regulations, correcting existing violations for facilities that already have formal compliance issues, or providing guidance by taking the time to organize all radiation records on-site, our team has our clients covered from A to Z.

Below is a list of reminders, new iRad services to consider, and important compliance items to keep you informed. Over the next several blogs, we will dive into several of these in more detail.

  • iRad is excited to announce we now offer X-Ray Equipment Performance Evaluations for our dental and veterinary clients. These EPEs are required by the state, so call us today to schedule yours.
  • We now have a solution for professionals who are tired of dealing with traditional TLD Dosimeters. Bluetooth Instadose Dosimeters are a low-maintenance option that allows your staff to download necessary reports to an easy-to-use portal rather than take the time to ship off your standard TLDs and deal with manual reports as they come in. It is also helpful when you have staff changes. NOTE: This is required for our medical and veterinary clients.
  • A friendly reminder to check that all current staff has been monitored with dosimeters.
  • Remember that taking an X-Ray of anyone other than patients is considered a Level One violation. For example, at a dental facility, there should not be any images on your system of human fingers or staff (if they have not come in as a patient). This is the highest violation level, and you will be subject to fines.
  • Please contact us if you receive a Remote Inspection from the state. We can help with these. If your Remote Inspection paperwork is not sent back to the state by the deadline listed, they will send a second notice. If they do not receive it by the date on the second notice, they will send an inspector to your facility for a surprise inspection.
  • If you have any new X-Ray equipment changes, your binder will need to be updated with all the required documentation and your X-Ray certificate of registration will need to be amended.
  • Friendly reminder: If you chose not to have us visit your facility for an annual review, we would not be able to keep your facility up to date and ready for a state inspection.

Texas Clients Only

  • QA/QC protocols now need to be performed every 3 months. If you are an existing client, we will be amending this protocol at your next annual audit review.
  • QA/QC now needs to be set up for both intraoral units and pano units, regardless if they process through the same digital software system. Call us today to determine if your protocol needs to implement testing your pano units.
  • DSHS is proposing new changes to the dental rules. You may have received an email allowing you to voice your opinion on the proposed changes. We will send out a blog when the new dental rules are finalized.

Thank you for reading! If you have any questions about our list of available services, please visit www.iradconsult.com, call us at 940-453-2876, or email us at [email protected]. Below are a few upcoming speaker events iRad has scheduled if anyone is interested in attending.

Schedule of Upcoming Events

MWI Event for Veterinarians – March 8 in Houston

Southwest Dental Conference – September 6 and 7 at the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Center in Dallas