Radiation Safety

The Radiation Safety section of the Health Protection Service (HPS) helps enforce the principles of radiation protection.

In the event of an emergency, please dial 000.

The Radiation Safety section of the Health Protection Service (HPS) helps enforce the principles of radiation protection. This includes the process of Justification, Optimisation and Limitation.

We are responsible for the following outcomes:

  • ensuring radiation exposures to the community are As Low As Reasonable Achievable (ALARA)
  • issuing Radiation Licences and the registration of Radiation Sources in line with the Radiation Council (see below)
  • regulating the use, supply and service of ionising and non-ionising radiation sources in medical, research and industrial applications
  • regulating the safe use, transport, storage and disposal of radioactive substances
  • providing scientific and technical advice about radiation safety to the ACT community and the Minister for Health

We also manage the Radiation Protection Act 2006  and the Radiation Protection Regulation 2007 .

Please contact us for more information on 02 5124 9700 or hps@act.gov.au. Our fax number is 02 5124 5554.

Find us at the Howard Florey Centenary House, 25 Mulley Street, Holder, ACT 2611.

Radiation safety news and updates

Temporary pause in compliance testing of X-ray equipment

The testing of X-ray equipment, undertaken on behalf of the Health Protection Service (HPS) as part of the registration approval process, has been adversely affected by the escalation of the COVID-19 situation in the Canberra Region and across Australia. This has caused a temporary pause in compliance testing being undertaken.

If your practice/business is intending to install any X-ray equipment, please be aware this may significantly impact the timeframe for registration of the equipment and may only resolve when border conditions permit.

If your practice/business is considered an “essential business, activity or undertaking” under a Public Health Emergency Direction but is unable to operate due to X ray equipment awaiting registration, where this X-ray equipment is low risk (e.g. intraoral dental X-ray, BMD/DEXA, XRF, XRD or a standard X-ray baggage scanner) please contact HPS to discuss approaching the Radiation Council for consideration of possible temporary arrangements.
 

What’s new in occupational licensing – Automatic Mutual Recognition (AMR)

Automatic Mutual Recognition (AMR) aims to make it easier for workers to operate interstate under the Mutual Recognition Act 1992 (Cth) (MR Act). The ACT is a participating jurisdiction and entered the AMR scheme on 1 July 2021 along with New South Wales, Victoria and the Northern Territory. Other States are likely to enter the scheme in 2022.

To allow time to implement AMR, people licenced to deal with a regulated radiation source from interstate are temporarily exempt in the ACT, but from 1 July 2022, interstate licensees can operate here without the need for additional registrations and fees. For interstate workers coming to the ACT, you will simply need to notify ACT Health of your intent to work in the ACT.

If you are licensed or registered in the ACT and plan to work interstate, you will need to check the rules and regulations in that state or territory.

To learn more about AMR, visit the Access Canberra website for additional information and guidelines, or to speak to someone about AMR, contact the Health Protection Service on 5124 9700 or hps@act.gov.au.

Information sharing provisions under the Mutual Recognition Act 1992 (Cth) (MR Act)

Under the Mutual Recognition Act 1992 (Cth), ACT Health must share information with other local registration authorities in States and Territories that cover the activity including:

  • information in connection with a person’s automatic deemed registration (ADR), including:
    • the person’s name and address;
    • information identifying an individual’s ADR;
    • the fact that disciplinary action, including preliminary investigations that might lead to criminal, civil or disciplinary proceedings, is being taken in relation to the ADR;
    • whether suspension or cancellation of the ADR would be subject to an appeal; and
    • information relating to the reason for taking or considering the action.
  • information authorised or required under local licensing legislation for the registration.

ACT Health will manage your personal information in a manner consistent with the ACT Health Directorate Information Privacy Policy. The Privacy Policy is a requirement under the Territory’s Information Privacy Act 2014.

For the most up to date information on AMR and how it applies in the ACT please follow the link below:

https://www.accesscanberra.act.gov.au/s/article/automatic-mutual-recognition-tab-overview

Legislative Review of the Radiation Protection Act 2006 

ACT Health undertook a legislative review of the Radiation Protection Act 2006 in late 2018 on whether the policy objectives of the Act remain valid, and if the ACT’s approach to radiation safety is consistent with nationally agreed principles. Stakeholders provided detailed feedback as part of the review process. 

The final review report was presented in the ACT Legislative Assembly in November 2018.
View a copy of the report.

Radiation Safety Training

The Canberra Hospital offers an annual radiation safety course for medical practitioners in fluoroscopy.

The course is suitable for medical practitioners in cardiology, urology, gastroenterology, orthopaedics, pain management and related disciplines.

Please contact us for more information.

Radiation Council

The ACT Radiation Council is established under the Radiation Protection Act 2006. The Council works in conjunction with the HPS to oversee the issuing of Radiation Licences and the registration of Radiation Sources.

In order to be included at the next scheduled meeting, licence and registration applications must be received by HPS at least seven (7) business days prior to the meeting.

The Council meets approximately every 6 weeks. Please see a list of meeting dates below:

Cut-off date Radiation Council meeting date
12 July 2021 21 July 2021
23 August 2021 01 September 2021
01 October 2021 13 October 2021
01 November 2021 10 November 2021
06 December 2021 15 December 2021
21 January 2022 02 February 2022
04 March 2022 16 March 2022
14 April 2022 27 April 2022
27 May 2022 08 June 2022
11 July 2022 20 July 2022
22 August 2022 31 August 2022
30 September 2022 12 October 2022
31 October 2022 09 November 2022
05 December 2022 14 December 2022
20 January 2023 01 February 2023

Further information can be obtained by contacting the Secretariat for the Radiation Council on 5124 9700 or hps@act.gov.au.

By post: Secretariat, Radiation Council, Health Protection Service, Locked Bag 5005, Weston Creek ACT 2611

Personal Radiation Monitoring

Personal Radiation Monitoring is required for anyone who is likely to be exposed to ionizing radiation in excess of 1 mSv in any one year.

The ARPANSA Radiation Protection Series document RPS 1, Recommendation for Limiting Exposure to Ionizing Radiation (1995), states that “operators and employers are responsible for ensuring that a radiation monitoring program is developed and followed, as required by the appropriate authority”. This Code has now been withdrawn and replaced by the ARPANSA Code for Radiation Protection in Planned Exposure Situations (2016) RPS C-1 and Monitoring and Reporting is covered in section 3.3.3.

The ARPANSA Code of Practice for Radiation Protection in the Medical Applications of Ionizing Radiation (2008) states that:

  • The Responsible Person must ensure that a personal radiation monitoring device supplied by a Personal Radiation Monitoring Service, approved in accordance with the criteria specified in the National Directory for Radiation Protection, is provided to each occupationally exposed person who is likely to be exposed to ionizing radiation in excess of 1mSv in any one year.
  • The operator must wear:
    • all personal protective equipment provided by the Responsible Person where applicable to the procedure; and
    • a personal radiation monitoring device where provided by the Responsible Person.

In addition, the ARPANSA Planned Exposure Code (2006) states that the Responsible Person must arrange for appropriate radiation monitoring to the extent necessary to:

  • demonstrate the effectiveness of the measures for protection and safety
  • assess external radiation doses.

Further to these requirements, the Radiation Council has determined the following Personal Radiation Monitors and area monitoring is required:

  • Dental practices which have OPG and/or CBCT units must have ongoing area monitoring at the operator position.

    In addition to this requirement, dentists and dental assistants must be able to demonstrate that they have undertaken a minimum one year period of appropriate radiation monitoring at the practice.

    In the case of intraoral units, a PRM ‘badge’ may be hung from each controller* instead of staff members having their own ‘badge’. After 12 months and provided the dose reports indicate a negligible dose received by each staff member, or the badge at the intraoral unit controller location, this aspect of the monitoring can be discontinued.

    *Please note that using this method the dose will not be attributable to a particular member of staff.

  • Veterinarians and Veterinarian Nurses/Veterinarian Assistants, who deal with a Radiation Source, require personal radiation monitoring (PRM).
  • Ongoing Personal Radiation Monitoring (PRM) is required for medical imaging staff who are likely to be exposed person to ionizing radiation in excess of 1 mSv in any one year.
  • Ongoing Personal Radiation Monitoring (PRM) is required for Radiation Oncology staff who are likely to be exposed person to ionizing radiation in excess of 1 mSv in any one year.
  • Ongoing Personal Radiation Monitoring (PRM) is required for Soil Technicians and those involved in Industrial radiography.
  • The operators of Baggage Scanners and Security Devices utilising X-rays do not require Personal Radiation Monitoring (PRM).
Page last updated on: 21 Dec 2021