Safety Precautions, Side Effects and Risks for Operators and Patients of Non-Ionising Radiation

Safety Precautions, Side Effects and Risks for Operators and Patients of Non-Ionising Radiation

Safety Precautions of Non-Ionising Radiation

  • Non-ionising radiation refers to electromagnetic radiation which carries insufficient energy to ionise atoms or molecules. This includes radio waves, microwaves, infrared, and visible light.
  • Proper Shielding should be provided when using devices emitting non-ionising radiation. This will prevent unnecessary exposure.
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as eye protection should be worn when there is a risk of eye injury due to exposure, such as from intense visible and near-infrared light.
  • Safety guards and warning signs should be fitted on all devices using non-ionising radiation as an added safety measure.
  • Training and awareness on the safe use of equipment can prevent misuse or unplanned exposure.
  • Operators and other healthcare professionals should adhere to occupational exposure limits to minimise their risk.

Side Effects of Non-Ionising Radiation

  • Skin and eye burns can occur as a result of exposure to intense sources of non-ionising radiation.
  • Overexposure to non-ionising radiation may cause uncomfortable sensations of heat, changes in skin colour or skin injury.
  • With lasers in particular, the light energy can cause damage to the retina if direct exposure occurs. Consequently, all laser procedures must be approached with caution.
  • Some people may experience a temporary change in sensation or a tingling feeling following exposure to non-ionising radiation, but this is usually temporary and will wear off.

Risks for Operators and Patients

  • Operators risk exposure to non-ionising radiation during the use, maintenance or repair of equipment or during procedures.
  • Risk for operators is generally higher than patients due to prolonged and repeated occupational exposure.
  • Patients can be at risk if the procedures using non-ionising radiation are not performed correctly.
  • A major risk factor for both operators and patients is a lack of understanding or disregard for safety controls and procedures.
  • Children may be at higher risk due to their developing tissues and organs.

Understanding these safety precautions, side effects and risks associated with non-ionizing radiation can mitigate the potential harm associated with medical applications of this technology. It forms an important part of medical physics and overall safety in healthcare settings.