What makes non-ionizing radiation non-ionizing
In physics, radiation is a specific form of energy propagation. A distinction is made between high-energy ionizing radiation - extremely short-wave electromagnetic radiation such as X-rays and radioactivity - and non-ionizing, optical radiation - short-wave radiation such as UV radiation and long-wave "light" such as infrared, laser, visible light and solar rays.
Ionizing and non-ionizing radiation
Depending on the radiation dose and duration of exposure, ionizing radiation can cause acute radiation damage such as skin burns, organ damage, radiation disease, carcinoma, leukemia and genetic damage. Non-ionizing radiation can cause damage to skin and eyes, depending on the duration of exposure, wavelength and mode of operation of the radiation source. Special occupational health and safety conditions therefore apply to the working environment at workplaces exposed to radiation and the work-related handling of radiation sources.
Workplace with radiation exposure
Workplaces where employees are exposed to ionizing and non-ionizing radiation - to name just a few - can be found in:
- Research and human medicine
- Power plants
- in drinking water production
- while flying
- in metal production and processing
- on the construction
- at the fire department
- in the graphic industry
Basically, for workplaces with radiation exposure, the use of radiation must be justified, the dose must be kept as low as possible and unnecessary exposure must be avoided.
Risk assessment radiation protection
All operators of workplaces exposed to radiation must, regardless of the number of employees, carry out a risk assessment including documentation and its updating. The documentation must contain information on the hazards that may arise at the workplace, the type of protective measures and the result of their review.
The protective measures are divided into technical, organizational and personal measures. Measures for avoidance are at the top of the list, followed by measures for minimization, such as organizational and spatial delimitation, structural shielding of the hazardous areas, instruction of employees and personal protective equipment (PPE).
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