Radiation Protection - the employer's workplace responsibility

The Ionising Radiations Regulations 2017 (IRR17) apply to any organisation carrying out work that could result in exposure to ionising radiation. This includes exposures from radioactive substances or X-ray generators and can also apply to organisations working with materials that contain natural radioactivity, such as mineral sands.

Regulation 20(3) - the employer's Instrument testing responsibility

Regulations 20(3) of the Ionising Radiations Regulations 2017 (IRR17) requires that all instruments used for radiation protection purposes for fulfilling the requirements of the Regulations shall be adequately tested and thoroughly examined at appropriate intervals by or under the supervision of a Qualified Person. The Approved Code of Practice (ACoP) recommends the interval to be at least once every year.

Compliance assured testing - including personal dosemeters

This is a regulatory requirement. Regulations 20(4) of the Ionising Radiations Regulations 2017 (IRR17) requires the performance of all instruments provided for radiation protection purposes to be established by adequate tests before it has first been used. The Approved Code of Practice (ACoP) recommends that every instrument should be individually tested before they are put into use for the first time. It also acknowledges that such testing will usually comprise a number of tests designed to verify that an instrument conforms to type. If no type test data exists, then before first use, tests are required to establish the instrument's performance for its intended use and also to determine any limitations that may render it unsuitable for certain applications.

Information about instrument limitations

The Approved Code of Practice (ACoP) also requires that information on the limitations of any equipment and its accuracy of calibration should be available to any person who uses, or may use, it. The guidance goes on to state that the testing must be carried out by, or under the direct supervision of, the Qualified Person. The Qualified Person will make decisions on the testing required with reference to type test data or any other reliable information they have about the design and performance of the instrument, and of its intended use.

These statements are significant as they ensure two things: firstly that the test before first use is tailored to suit the particular monitoring application, and secondly that the end user is aware of any limitations in the performance of the instrument. This is either by reference to the type test data, or from the additional testing performed during the test before first use.