Quality Issues in Outsourcing Dosimetry
N. Stanford (Stanford Dosimetry, LLC)
Outsourcing external dosimetry processing has regained much of the popularity it had in the 1970's partly due to economics but largely due to significant increases in the quality offered by the commercial operations. Paradoxically, this increase in quality can in some cases lead to a decrease in the overall integrity of facility dose results. The problem comes from the temptation to cut back on the quality oversight by the facility as it outsources the dosimetry processing operation. Regulatory documents as well as legal responsibilities however, make it clear that the facility retains the overall responsibility for the appropriateness, accuracy and documentation of the dosimetry program used to monitor its workforce. Regardless of where the processing takes place, it is the facility licensee or DOE contractor that must ensure that the dosimetry is appropriate for the radiation environments present. This requires an understanding of the fields, as well as the capabilities of the dosimetry, and good communication between the facility radiation protection group and the processor. The facility must also ensure that the processing is performed as specified using periodic reviews of processing records, performance checks and operating procedures as well as independent blind testing. Finally, the dosimetry records must be maintained by, or made available to, the facility and periodically verified to ensure that future dose re-analyses can be performed as specified in federal regulations. This paper presents a review of the regulations that apply to outsourced programs along with methods to meet the requirements.