Though low, the risks of radiation exposure are cumulative and severe. This is due in part to the fact that some types can cause negative health consequences 10 years or longer after exposure. Workers exposed to too much radiation may face an increased risk of several types of cancer and other negative health outcomes. El Paso employees who work around radiation sources will benefit from an understanding of how dosimetry can limit health risks.
The most common exposure threat is found from ionizing radiation devices. These are in widespread use in dental and medical offices. All employees in settings with an X-ray machine are considered to be at risk. OSHA publishes a number of standards regarding radiation exposure. However, one industry author maintains that while workplace safety standards for radiation do exist, none tell “what is too much for each person.”
Besides use of lead-lined safety equipment and clear markings, OSHA requires that employees in some settings wear a badge to measure exposure. Badges are also referred to as dosimeters. These are used in a broader monitoring protocol called dosimetry. According to the author, long-term monitoring protects against worker injury by tracking exposure rates and allowing concerned parties to view data. Dosimetry also protects employers from citations and liability by providing evidence that radiation “never exceeded thresholds.”
Exposure to certain types of radiation can cause long-term health consequences for workers. An increased risk of cancer won’t be immediately apparent or trigger an OSHA investigation. Instead, employees may have to be vigilant regarding radiation sources in the workplace and federal safety regulations. For El Paso personnel who suspect that their injuries are related to radiation exposure, an attorney may be able to help uncover past employer citations, gather dosimetry data and pursue a worker injury claim.