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

Ask the Experts is posting answers using only SI (the International System of Units) in accordance with international practice. To convert these to traditional units we have prepared a conversion table. You can also view a diagram to help put the radiation information presented in this question and answer in perspective. Explanations of radiation terms can be found here.
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