Answer to Question #10071 Submitted to "Ask the Experts"

Category: Medical and Dental Equipment/Shielding — Lead Aprons

The following question was answered by an expert in the appropriate field:

What is the recommended maximum length of time staff members should be wearing lead aprons, considering they cannot sit down in my place of work? If there is a sterile field in angiography, protective wear cannot be removed.  We can be scrubbed for up to six hours during some procedures. During this time we are also wearing a sterile gown and gloves over the lead aprons.
Protective lead garments for x-ray use should be worn during any period of time that the x-ray beam is “on” and the person wearing the garment is in the room with the x-ray unit. If physical stress of wearing the garment is an issue, it can be taken off if the x-ray beam is not being used (but it must be put back on before the x-ray beam is turned “on”), or it can be taken off if the user steps outside the x-ray room. In the case of very long, sterile procedures as you have mentioned above, there may be a significant amount of physical stress. Unfortunately, this is not a radiation safety issue, rather it is an occupational safety issue. The apparent solution for persons suffering from physical stress from wearing lead aprons is to switch out with another person during the procedure.

Kennith “Duke” Lovins, CHP
Health Physicist
Answer posted on 9 February 2012. The information posted on this web page is intended as general reference information only. Specific facts and circumstances may affect the applicability of concepts, materials, and information described herein. The information provided is not a substitute for professional advice and should not be relied upon in the absence of such professional advice. To the best of our knowledge, answers are correct at the time they are posted. Be advised that over time, requirements could change, new data could be made available, and Internet links could change, affecting the correctness of the answers. Answers are the professional opinions of the expert responding to each question; they do not necessarily represent the position of the Health Physics Society.