Safety Tips

Radiation

Safe Procedures

A radiation safety professional can help you understand how to treat radiation with respect. You can your co-workers can learn more about related hazards and types of radiation.

If there are significant sources of radiation in your work area, ask a professional to come to your work site to teach the right safety procedures for use with radiation.

Health & Safety

Exposure to radiation is a work hazard that some workers in the construction industry face daily and almost everyone has to deal with occasionally.

While workers who work with radiation are trained and know the related safety rules, all workers should be aware of jobs and work sites where exposure to radiation may occur.

Employers must develop and implement safe work practices and procedures to be used when workers deal with or approach a radiation source.

Stay Away

A good general rule to follow is to stay clear of areas that involve radiation technology. Signs indicating the presence of hazardous or radioactive materials should be posted.

Stay away from hazardous areas or material until a qualified person indicates the right procedures to follow.

Potential Hazards

Workers today face an increasing number of potential hazards in the workplace. By following the Occupational Health and Safety Legislation and other safety legislation, all workers can work safely and deal properly with radiation hazards.

Common Sources

Non-ionizing radiation, such as infrared and ultraviolet rays, can be hazardous to your health. Many workers are familiar with radiation in their work with photoelectric scanning, welding, plasma torch operations, or hot metal operations.

Construction workers are most often exposed to non-ionizing radiation in the form of invisible light. Sources of this kind of radiation include light fixtures and sunlight.

Infrared and ultraviolet radiation from welding and the sun can be dangerous. Infrared is felt as heat. Ultraviolet causes burns or sunburn.

Both can damage the skin and eyes causing such things as sunburn and "welders arc eye"(flash). Skin cancer is also a potential effect.

Watch Out

Watch out for gases and vapours when welding. The ultraviolet rays can react with other materials or chemicals and may give off vapours and create an explosive atmosphere.

Personal Protective Equipment

Welders should:

Wear the right personal protective equipment (PPE) including CSA standard workboots
Cover all exposed skin
Use gloves, proper goggles, face shielding, and barrier creams
Use respiratory protection when necessary

Other workers nearby may also need PPE. Use a welding booth or protective screens to protect others.

Time Rules

In hazardous areas, reducing your exposure time is an important safety factor. Know your OELs - Occupational Exposure Limits. How long you can stay in a radiation area depends on the level of radiation and types of controls being used.

It is safest to work at a site that has:

Detection measures and exposure measurement capability
Decontamination and disposal procedures (if required)
A good system for keeping records of procedures and worker exposure times

Symptoms to Watch For

If radiation damage has occurred to the eyes, symptoms can include:

Sensation of sand in the eyes
Temporary loss of sight
Blurred vision
Extreme pain

These symptoms may occur immediately or may take up to a day to appear. Skin problems or burns should be checked immediately by a doctor. Any blemishes that appear should also be checked.

Radiation

The largest single source of radiation around the home is the sun. It's true, that a healthy tan may be a real risk to your future health. If working or playing outdoors - protect your skin. Wear a sunblock cream with at least a 30 rating.

Be particularly careful at the beach or on the water. The sun's rays reflect and can burn your skin much more quickly. When in the sun always wear a hat that protects your head and shades your eyes.

These actions may not give you that deep bronze tan, but is a great tan worth a case of skin cancer or worse?

Another source of radiation at home is the microwave oven. These kitchen wonders have revolutionized the way we cook our food. But microwave radiation can be very dangerous if it is not contained within the oven. Read you manufacturer's specifications carefully and never try to do things that will bypass the safety interlocks on the oven door.

Radiation is a valuable resource and tool if used properly. When not treated with caution and respect, it can injure or kill like any tool used the wrong way-at work or at home.

For more information, refer to current applicable Occupational Health and Safety Legislation.