Liverpool Hospital
Department of Nuclear Medicine and PET

Radiation Protection

Radiation Protection Standards used in most countries are based on the recommendations of the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP). ICRP recommendations are intended for guidance purposes, and the Standards used in most countries based on the recommendations of ICRP. The standards in each country are set according to respective legislative requirements.

Each state in Australia has legislation relating to protection against exposure to ionising radiations. The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA), part of the Health and Ageing Portfolio, is a Federal Government agency charged with responsibility for protecting the health and safety of people, and the environment, from the harmful effects of ionising radiation.

The Advisory Council and Committees of ARPANSA consist of Radiation Health and Safety Advisory Council (RHSAC), Radiation Health Committee (RHC) and Nuclear Safety Committee (NSC).

Radiation exposure occurs when human being exposed to radiation or radioactive materials. The exposures are classified as occupational exposure (exposure of a person in the workplace), Medical exposure (exposure of person as a part of medical diagnosis or treatment) and public exposure (exposure other than occupational and medical).

The Dose Equivalent Limit for adults (radiation workers) exposed to ionising radiation during their work is 20 milli-Sieverts (mSv) per year. This is (effectively) a whole body dose, and the dose limit for individual organs (if irradiated singly) may be somewhat higher. No special provision is made for women of reproductive capacity, but once pregnancy is discovered, the embryo or foetus should be afforded the same level of protection as required for members of public. For the member of public 1 mSv per year is the annual limit.

If radiation exposure does not exceed the levels defined above, then the risk to radiation workers and the general public has been estimated to be small and within acceptable limits. As an additional precaution, however, the ICRP has recommended that all exposures be kept as low as reasonably achievable, economic and social factors being taken into account (the ALARA principle). This policy has been adopted in Australian National Health and Medical Research Council recommendations and in various State regulations.
Diagnostic and Therapeutic nuclear medicine imaging or scans involve the administration of small amounts of radioactive material in the form of a radiopharmaceutical.

© 2016 South Western Sydney Local Health District
Last Updated: 31 August, 2011
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