State agencies join forces on radiation safety in the workplace

Date released: Sep 07 2006

The Health and Safety Authority and the Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland (RPII) today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) focusing on the hazards associated with ionising radiation in the workplace.

The MoU concentrates on a number of key areas of cooperation. These include exposure to radon gas in the workplace, transport of radioactive materials, hazards and accidents in the workplace involving sources of ionising radiation as well as operational liaison between the two organisations.

Both the Health and Safety Authority and the RPII share a common goal of improved safety in the workplace. Commenting on today’s announcement, Mr Tom Beegan, Chief Executive of the Authority said: “The monitoring and enforcement of safety regulations concerning ionising radiation in the workplace are important tasks for both organisations. This agreement will enhance the actions of both the RPII and the Health and Safety Authority to improve workplace safety through improved cooperation and communication.”

Dr Ann McGarry, Chief Executive of the RPII welcomed the new agreement. “Radiation sources have many beneficial uses in medicine and industry, but they are hazardous and must be handled in accordance with strict protocols. The new working arrangement between the RPII and the Authority will lead to improved vigilance in workplaces where radiation sources are used.”

The MoU also highlights the hazards of radon in the workplace and establishes a joint working group on the issue. This cooperation will assist both organisations implement the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act, 2005 that places duties on employers in respect of ionising radiation. The Health and Safety Authority will continue to provide a representative to sit on the RPII’s Medical Radiation Advisory Committee (MRAC), which advises on the uses of ionising radiation in medicine and dentistry.