IAEA information system on occupational exposure in industrial radiography improves worldwide radiation protection of workers


The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) operates an Information System on Occupational Exposure in Medicine, Industry and Research in Industrial Radiography (ISEMIR-IR) for strengthening the safety of workers who are exposed to ionising radiation.

Those who work in industrial radiography are typical examples of occupationally exposed workers in the non-nuclear energy sector. Accidents and overexposures may occur more frequently because of difficult working conditions outside of the facilities. In some cases, workers may receive high exposure, which can cause severe health consequences such as radiation burns.

“It is important to have a worldwide mechanism to ensure the sharing and exchanging of knowledge and experience,” said Miroslav Pinak, Head of the Radiation Safety and Monitoring Section at the IAEA. “We hope that companies carrying out industrial radiography will participate in ISEMIR-IR. Together, we can help to ensure and advance occupational radiation protection in industrial radiography.”

ISEMIR-IR is a free online database for radiation protection optimisation for non-destructive testing (NDT) companies. It collects data relevant to occupational exposures, such as radiation doses received by workers, the number of exposures and radiation protection training.

After selected coordinators at participating companies anually enter the anonymous data, they can review trends of their arrangements in radiation protection and safety. The system also offers an option to compare performance of the whole company or an individual radiographer against others, either worldwide or in the selected regions.

The coordinators of the companies or radiation protection officers can use this information to improve occupational radiation protection. They can define follow-up actions and address identified safety gaps.

The overall goal of the system is to provide for better integration of the as low as reasonably achievable (ALARA) radiation safety principle in companies utilising NDT practices and to help them to achieve effective exposure management. Once a significant amount of data is collected, ISEMIR-IR should contribute to minimising the likelihood of accidents by identifying accident precursors.

The ISEMIR-IR online system was designed based on a worldwide survey. In 2010, the IAEA sent this survey to three different actors playing a role in radiation protection for workers. 432 industrial radiographers from 31 countries, 95 NDT companies from 29 countries and 59 national regulatory bodies responded to the survey.

The IAEA prepared the questions to gain a better insight into the practice of occupational radiation protection. The questions referred to radiation protection procedures in place, training, incidents, the safety of radiographers and the use of radioactive sources.

Shortcomings identified in all world regions were a lack in the use of collimators/diaphragms, insufficient availablity of survey meters and a high frequency of incidents. Occupational doses received by radiographers also varied considerably but there was no correlation with radiographic workload.

The full results were published in the IAEA Technical Document 1747. The results helped the IAEA design the specific fields of the information system fully launched in June 2017.

NDT companies from around the world are welcome to register and submit their data to ISEMIR IR: https://nucleus.iaea.org/isemir/

To access ISEMIR-IR, users are requested to create an account with NUCLEUS, the IAEA’s web portal for scientific, technical and regulatory resources.

To read more, visit: www-ns.iaea.org/tech-areas/communication-networks/orpnet/isemir-ir-faq.asp