Do you remember the first time you entered a healthcare facility? Did you feel like you were trying to comprehend a foreign language? EKG, EEG, SSEPs, PLIF, TLIF, PSF, CABG, SCFE, VDO—the list of acronyms goes on forever! As with any foreign language, the only way to progress is to practice. While working around imaging equipment as vendor rep or other occupational visitor, the language of safety is ALARA.
So what does ALARA mean?
ALARA is an acronym for As Low As Reasonably Achievable. This radiation safety principle is a directive to use all reasonable methods to minimize radiation and the release of radioactive materials. ALARA is not only a sound safety principle but is a regulatory requirement for all radiation safety programs.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) states: “Each NRC licensee must develop, document, and implement a radiation protection program commensurate with the scope and extent of its licensed activities. In addition to meeting expressed dose limits, the NRC requires its licensees to apply the ALARA principle to their licensed operations.”1
What’s your ALARA?
As an occupationally exposed worker, ALARA is in place to protect you so take it personally. The goal is to achieve the lowest possible dose while working in the radiation environment.
How do you know where you stand?
- First, ensure you are wearing a dosimeter at every facility you visit, so you are tracking your cumulative exposure. Get ahead of the curve. Many states are beginning to require hospitals to collect exposure data from occupational visitors, so be prepared. Protect your health while staying compliant with your facilities’ radiation safety policies.
- Learn the three safety principles of time, distance, and shielding to ensure your occupational dose is within NRC limits. SEC3URE University includes comprehensive radiation safety training with immediate compliance credit once completed.
- Review your National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program (NVLAP—yes, another acronym) exposure report. If you see an “M” for minimal or a “0” for zero exposure, you are on the right safety track. The facilities where you provide support are required to use dosimeters that are processed by a certified lab. Dosimeters provided by IntelliCentrics maintain these strict requirements.
As the leader in radiation compliance services, we have the fluency to be your guide. Through our managed services, you gain immediate access to in-depth knowledge and experience within radiation safety.