Answer to Question #11758 Submitted to "Ask the Experts"

Category: Radiation Workers

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


I work at a chemical manufacturing facility that uses instruments with radiation sources (to detect the level in a tank, to determine density of a fluid flowing through a pipe, etc.) and also uses x-ray instruments in the quality lab. The site radiation safety officer (RSO) is trained, the instrument technicians are trained to perform simple work on the radiation instruments (periodic radiation surveys, swab tests, shutter checks, etc.), but what do the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) regulations say about "general awareness" radiation training for other employees working in and around these instruments? Is such training required, and if so, on what frequency?


The U.S. NRC, as stated in 10 CFR 19.12, requires that any employees of a licensee who are likely to receive an annual effective dose in excess of 1 millisievert (mSv) be given:

  • Appropriate information regarding the storage, transfer, and use of radiation sources.
  • Suitable instruction to ensure safety of the individuals, awareness of the requirements applicable to them, and the options available to them.

Other sections of 10 CFR 19 deal with other matters of interest to such workers who might be exposed to radiation at a level of concern. Whether you or any of your coworkers are likely to receive the 1 mSv annual dose would depend specifically on what you are doing in relation to the radiation source(s).

If a worker is required to wear a radiation dosimeter, then by inference (10 CFR 20.1502) that worker may be subject to doses in excess of 10% of the annual limits (the annual effective dose limit is 50 mSv, and 10% of this would be 5 mSv). If such is the case, the worker would be subject to the requirements and instruction noted in 10 CFR 19.

The U.S. NRC does not control the possession and/or use of x-ray-producing machines. These are controlled by the individual states in which the machines are housed and/or used. You should contact your state to determine specifically what their recommendations are. This is probably best done by contacting your state's radiation control program. Here is a link to a map from which you can access your state’s Radiation Control Program director by clicking on your state's marker on the map.

George Chabot, CHP, PhD

Answer posted on 18 October 2016. 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.