Analytical X-ray Safety
Refresh Training

Radiation Safety Officer
Department of Environmental Health and Safety

TWO TYPES OF X-RAYS
Man-made X-rays
• Electrons are accelerated from the
cathode by high voltage, then stopped
by high-density target at the anode
• Energy of electrons is converted to X-
rays
• Energy of X-rays has a continuous
spectrum
Characteristic X-ray
X-ray
• Electrons jump from higher energy
orbitals to lower energy orbitals
e-
• Extra energy is release as X-rays
e-
• This type of X-rays has discrete energy
spectrum, characteristic to the element

MAN-MADE X-RAY PRODUCTION
‣ X-rays produced in a
spectrum of energy up to a
maximum which is
determined by the electric
potentials
‣ The distribution of energy
is dependent on the
electric potentials and the
target materials
‣ 99% of the input electric
energy is heat, < 1% is
converted to x-rays
‣ Characteristic x-rays may
also be produced

BIOLOGICAL EFFECTS OF RADIATION
• At the molecular level, the
energy carried by the incident
radiation (X-ray) is transferred
to DNA molecules, leading
damages in the DNA structure.

DNA double helix
• The energy transfer has
direct and indirect pathways,
in the latter the energy is
transferred to water first to
produce free radicals and ions.
The highly reactive free
radicals and ions then diffuses
to DNA and causes damages.

BIOLOGICAL EFFECTS OF RADIATION
Atomic Bomb Survivors
• The health effects of radiation are
Uranium Miners
linearly dependent on the radiation

dose (discussed in following slides).
Radium Dial Painters
ct

• The model that describes the
Effe
Medical Patients
health effects is called the linear no
threshold (LNT) model.
alth

• This model is established based on
He
a number of reliable studies and is
commonly accepted by scientific
advising bodies and governmental
Linear no threshold (LNT) model agencies.
0
50
100
Radiation dose (rem)

ALARA PRINCIPLE
‣ Because the health effects are proportional to the radiation dose, we
want the dose to be As Low As Reasonably Achievable
‣ ALARA is an approach to control or manage radiation doses as low as
social, technical, economic, practical, and public policy considerations
permit.

RADIATION DOSE
‣ Biological effects are proportional to
radiation dose. Then what is radiation
dose?
‣ Radiation dose is defined as the amount
of energy (carried by α, β, γ or X-rays)
absorbed per unit mass of body tissue.
‣ Units of radiation dose
– The SI unit of radiation dose is Sievert (Sv)
– 1 Sv = 1 joule of X-ray radiation energy
absorbed in 1 kilogram of body tissue
– Units of rem and milirem (mrem) are more
commonly used
– 1 Sv = 100 rem = 100,000 mrem

BACKGROUND RADIATION DOSE
‣ We all live in an environment of
radiation.
‣ The sources of background
radiation include cosmic rays,
natural radioactive elements in
earth, medical treatments, and
consumer products.
‣ On average, each member of
general public receives 620
mrem of radiation dose per year
from the background – National
Council on Radiation Protection
and Measurements (NCRP)
Report No.160, 2006.

BACKGROUND RADIATION DOSE

MEDICAL X-RAY DOSE
Type of Exam
Patient Dose Per
Background Equivalent
Exam
Pelvic CT
400 - 1200 mrem
1- 2 years
Spine
130-270 mrem
2-6 months
Mammogram
45 mrem
4 weeks
Dental
10 mrem
1 week
Chest
5 - 8 mrem
4 days
DEXA hip or spine
1 - 6 mrem
< 4 days
DEXA wrist, heel
<1 mrem
< 1 day

OCCUPATIONAL DOSE LIMITS
‣ The governmental agency regulating
occupational use of radiation is the US
Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).
‣ NRC Occupational Dose limits:
– Adult workers: 5,000 mrem/yr whole body;
50,000 mrem/yr to extremity, skin or any
organs; 15,000 mrem/yr to lens of the eye
– Pregnant workers: 500 mrem during the
gestation period
– Minors: 10% of all adult’s limits
– General public: 100 mrem/yr and not to
exceed 2 merm in any single hour.


AGREEMENT STATES
‣ Under the terms of the Atomic Energy
Act, the NRC may transfer to approved
states the authority to license and
regulate occupational use of radiation
and uranium, thorium, and certain
quantities of special nuclear material.
‣ Colorado is one of the “Agreement
States”
‣ Colorado’s regulating agency is
Colorado Department of Public Health
and Environment (CDPHE)
– Rules and regulations pertaining to
radiation control 6CCR 1007-1 (google
“CDPHE” then go to regulations)

RADIATION PROTECTION AT CSM
‣ CDPHE issues a license to CSM
‣ CDPHE registers analytical X-rays and accelarators
‣ Environmental Health and Safety Department (EHS)
and the Radiation Safety Officer (RSO) manages the
radiation protection program at CSM
‣ RSO assigns radiation users and provides radiation
safety trainings

ORGANIZATION CHART
Agreement
License
- Independent supervised
users (ISU)
- Directly supervised users
Authorized users (AU)
(DSU)
Radiation producing
Radiation safety officer
- Radiation producing
equipment supervisors
equipment operators (RPEO)
(RPES)
-Ancillary personnel (ANP)

TYPICAL DOSES AT CSM
quarterly dose in mrem
yearly dose in mrem
lifetime dose in mrem since 2001
(remember, annual background
dose is 620 mrem)

RADIATION PROTECTION PRINCIPLES
‣ There are three basic
principles in radiation
protection: time, distance
and shielding.

‣ Use theses principles in
addition to proper
contamination controls to
make dose ALARA


X-RAY PROTECTION
Time: reduce
exposure time
Distance: increase
distance from source
Shielding: put something
between you and source

X-RAY PRODUCING EQUIPMENT
accelerator
X-ray
hand-held X-ray unit

X-RAY RADIATION HAZARD
‣ There are three sources of radiation
hazard: primary beam, scattered beam,
and leakage from the X-ray tube

X-ray
scatter
X-ray tube
primary beam
sample
imager
X-ray
leakage

FACTORS AFFECTING DOSE
‣ Electric current (in amps) – affecting the
number of electrons leaving the cathode
and hitting the anode – number of X-rays
‣ Electric potential (usually in kilovoltage or
kVp) – affecting the energy of the
electrons and X-rays
‣ Target materials – how well the materials
stop/slow the electrons, affecting the
energy of the X-rays – the denser the
target, the “harder” the X-ray
‣ Beam size – affecting how much of X-ray
in a unit surface area, controlled by
port/shutter size
‣ Beam direction – exposed in primary,
scattered, or leakage X-rays


X-RAY SHIELDING
‣ Lead and steel shielding
surrounding X-ray tube
‣ Leakage through this shielding
may not exceed 100 mR/hr @ 1
meter
‣ Lead and steel surrounding the
whole unit and control console
‣ Leaded glass and lead lined doors
‣ Concrete walls surrounding the X-
ray room


X-RAY CONTROLS
‣ Administrative controls
‣ Engineering controls
– rules, regulations, manuals,
– lead-lined housing and leaded glass
procedures, accepted work practices
– interlocks and emergency turn-off
– safety trainings
– warning signs and lights
– administrative controls must be
followed to be effective
– radiation surveys

– registration and inspections


X-RAY SAFETY
‣ All units shall have an easily identified device
located near the radiation source housing and
labeled what gives a clear, visible indication of
the X-ray generation status (on-off)
‣ An easily visible warning light shall be
illuminated only when the generator is
energized, and have fail-safe characteristics
‣ Unused ports shall be secure in a manner
which will prevent accidental opening. Open
beam units shall have a shutter over the port
which cannot be opened unless a collimator or
coupling has been connected.
‣ Safety interlocks shall not be used to de-
activate the X-ray beam except in an
emergency or during testing of the interlock
system.


WARNING DEVICES
‣ Warning labels – with the tri-foil
radiation warning sign
‣ Warning lights – may be flashing
or color coded – should have a
clear indication to the status of
X-ray generation

‣ Audible warning

X-RAY SAFETY
X-ray tube housing
leaded glass
ports with shutters
warning labels
interlocking door

SAFETY PROCEDURES
‣ Only trained personnel shall be permitted
to operate an X-ray machine.
‣ Be familiar with the experiment and
operating procedures. DO NOT take
short cuts!
‣ Never expose any part of your body to
the primary beam.
‣ While the beam is on DO NOT attempt to
handle, manipulate or adjust any object
(sample, sample holder, collimator, etc.),
except for beam alignment procedures.
‣ Never leave the energized system
unattended in an area where access is
not controlled.


SAFETY PROCEDURES
‣ Never remove auxiliary shielding without
authorization from the supervisor of the
analytical equipment or Radiation Safety
Officer.
‣ Never bypass safety circuits, such as
interlocks.
‣ Only authorized, trained individuals as
specified by the supervisor or the RSO may
repair, align or make modifications to the X-
ray apparatus
‣ Examine the system carefully and report all
unsafe conditions to the supervisor and
RSO

UNSAFE CONDITIONS
‣ Examples of unsafe conditions include:
– access door/window interlocks do not work
– warning lights/signals do not work
– shielding has been damaged
– viewing window cracked
– other conditions could compromise shielding

‣ If an unsafe condition arises while using the X-ray
– stop work
– turn off power to x-ray unit
– notify supervisor and RSO

CAUSES OF ACCIDENTS
‣ Inadequate training or violation of procedure,
e.g., incorrect use of equipment, overriding
interlocks
‣ Poor equipment configuration, e.g., unused
beam ports not covered
‣ Manipulation of equipment when energized,
e.g., adjustment of samples or alignment of
cameras when x-ray beam is on
‣ Aligning x-ray beam visually
‣ Modification of shielding
‣ Equipment failure, e.g., shutter failure,
warning light failure


ACCIDENT DESCRIPTION
‣ QC inspector & assistant were adjusting a swing arm of the primary beam
shutter of an XRD unit. Patient was holding shutter plate in open position by
placing right index finger inside the port aperture
‣ After 40 – 50 sec, felt burning in index finger, but, because the machine was
supposedly NOT operating (i.e., shutter open), used another finger to hold it
open.
‣ Experienced burning, looked and saw machine was indeed operating.
‣ Symptoms of acute localized exposure
– erythema (skin reddening), swelling, blisters
– desquamation continued for several weeks
WARNING! Graphic content on next slide

ACCIDENT DESCRIPTION

EMERGENCY
‣ Fire or other life-threatening situations
– CALL 911 immediately

‣ Stop work, turn off power

‣ Notify lab supervisors and RSO at ext.
3573; notify relevant authorities when
apply – CSM Public Safety ext. 3333

‣ Follow any lab-specific emergency
procedures


REPORTING DUTIES
‣ The X-ray supervisors and operators are
required to report to the RSO immediately
in the events of
– installing new units, or relocation of units
involving reassembling
– placing units in disabled/inactive
– removing units from CSM’s possession by
sale, transfer or disposal
– modification of component that could affect
X-ray beam output
– lost, stolen or damaged
– suspected exposure


X-RAY SURVEY AND INSPECTION
‣ The Radiation Safety Office (RSO) will
perform a survey annually. This survey will
include inspection of all safety systems and
a radiation exposure survey.
‣ Analytical X-ray equipments are inspected
biannually and following major repairs
and/or system modifications by state-
certified inspectors. Hand-held units are
inspected annually.
‣ X-ray units that is registered and inspected
by CDPHE have the Radiation Machine
Certification (the “blue sticker”) attached to
the machine body.

DOSIMETERS
‣ To measure the amount of radiation
received during operations, operators
of analytical X-ray equipment will be
provided with a body (badge) and/or
finger (ring) monitoring device.

‣ However, it is important to note that
the cross-sectional area of the primary
radiation beam is usually small and
that the monitoring device may not
indicate the maximum exposure to the
operator – avoid direct contact to the
primary beam!


DOSIMETERS
‣ Radiation badge dosimeter
measures whole body exposure;
ring dosimeter measures extremity
exposure
‣ Distributed quarterly from EHS
‣ Dosimeters must be worn when
operating X-ray machines. When
not in use, keep dosimeters away
from light, heat, radiation
‣ Do not lose, do not break open.
Return to EHS in a timely fashion
for reading

X-RAY USER RESPONSIBILITIES
‣ Obtain safety training and machine-
specific training
‣ Familiarize with safety and operational
procedures
‣ Never expose any part of body in
primary X-ray beam
‣ Check safety interlocks and warning
devices
‣ Report unsafe conditions, suspected
excess exposures, and other
reportable events
‣ Exchange dosimeters with EHS in a
timely fashion


PREGNANT WORKER
‣ A declared pregnant worker is a woman
who has voluntarily informed her
employer, in writing, of her pregnancy
and estimated date of conception
‣ A declared pregnancy may be
undeclared at any time
‣ An undeclared pregnant worker may not
have her duties restricted because of her
pregnancy
‣ The radiation dose limit for declared
pregnant works is 500 mrem/ gestation
period
‣ Private appointment available with RSO



OTHER HAZARDS
‣ HIGH voltage going from generator to tube
– Be careful when servicing
– Watch for frayed cords, electrical arcing
‣ Moving part hazard – stay clear of the
moving part

QUESTIONS?
Radiation Safety Officer
Environmental Health and Safety
Colorado School of Mines


Office: (303) 273-3573
Fax: (303)-384-2081
Facilities Management Building
1318 Maple Street
Golden, CO 80401