How to Reduce the Risk of Radiation when Working with Hazardous Materials
When working in radiation prone areas, it doesn’t require rocket science to keep safe. By just having some basic information on what you should do to avoid any radiation risk can incredibly reduce radiation exposure and risk for the vast majority. When working in these environments, it is important to know the materials and the people that surround you. It is important that you get some basic information on the measures you need to take in order to fully protect yourself from radiation exposure. In order to know the measures that you need to take, below is the information that you may need in order to minimise the risks involved in your environment.
- It is very important to know that human beings cannot detect any ionizing radiation. Ionizing radiation is very different from the sunshine. When you have been in the sun for quite some time, you feel the urge to get under a shade. For the ionizing radiation, you cannot feel it under the normal conditions. The only way you can be able to note the ionizing radiation is by having radiation detectors in your working environment.
- The X-Rays have the same characteristics like the gamma radiation. That is, they are both electromagnetic and their wavelengths are shorter than the visible light. When the radioactive minerals discharge energy, they result to gamma rays due to the fact that they change their chemical composition. For the X-Rays, they are made in an electrical process with an intention of getting some medical imaging. If you are unsure of the type of radiation that you have been exposed to, it is important to avoid any form of exposure as much as possible.
- It is also important to note that ionizing radiation are charged particles and they can easily be discharged from an atom that is in the process of transition. These particles are mainly the alpha and the beta particles whereby the alpha are positively charged while the beta particles are charged negatively.
- Not all forms of radiation are the same. The light from the sun and the stars are electro-magnetic form of radiation and they are just like the waves from a microwave. These forms of radiation may have very small risks involved unlike the type of ionizing radiation that is found in a hazardous environment.
- Since the ionizing radiation comes in waves, the wavelength from the gamma radiation is way much shorter and penetrates the human body more than the other forms of radiation. The gamma radiation has so much energy that can modify atoms, molecules as well as DNA. Also, it is able to make free radicals in the body.
- There are a lot of issues that go on in the subatomic realm that is not visible when it comes to the waves and the particles. As much as the gamma rays are quite light with a very short wavelength that is not visible, it is important to note that the available particles have weight and they can greatly change the different atoms and molecules in our bodies.
- The alpha radiation does not penetrate as much as the gamma rays but they have more destruction powers if they are taken in through the respiratory system or through ingestion.
- It is quite unfortunate that beta radiation may be unseen when using a dosimeter. The magnitude of the risk posed by the beta radiation depends whether the source of the radiation is external or if it is ingested. Some sources of beta radiation can get into the bones and pose a very big health risk in your body.
- Also, neutrons should never be overlooked especially if you work around nuclear reactors. They may be lacking the electrical charge that is present in the beta and alpha particles but their mass can have a great negative impact on the body. However, if your work station is not around hazardous materials and nuclear reactors, then you do not need to be so much concerned, but if you work around these materials, you need to take much more care as well as proper concentration around them in order to protect yourself.
Once you have the knowledge of the above issues, it is upon you to ensure that you take the best possible measures to protect yourself. Some of the major measures that you can undertake are:
- As mentioned earlier, if you work around radioactive materials, it is advisable that you should have a radiation detector in your work place. Every day, things change and some of your colleagues may fail to take proper shield around the X-beam machines and they can be accidentally started thus resulting to things getting spilled. It is upon each individual to keep the environment in check on regular basis, by doing this, you will have reduced risk of the exposure.
- Use of a dosimeter badge to detect radiations may be unreliable because of the fact that there are some measurements that are omitted hence there are a lot risks that go undetected. To eliminate all the risks of exposure at the working stations, you should use other detectors.
- You can also protect yourself from radiation by putting a shield between you and the source of radiation. It greatly reduces your exposure and another way that you can reduce your exposure is by reducing the amount of time that you may be directly exposed.
- When working in a hazardous environment, it is very important to know all the sources of radiation. This knowledge will help to keep you informed and know the best measures that you need to take depending on the extent of the exposure. In case of any doubts or risky environment, you should seek medical advice from your medical practitioner.
By following the above ways, you can rest assured that, as much as you are working in a hazardous environment, you will protect yourself in a great way.