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Emery R. J.; Charlton, M. A.; Goodman, G. R.
Health Physics: March 2000
Operational Topic: PDF Only

Occupational radiation protection programs rarely encounter readily observable workplace injuries or illnesses, so upper management must rely on different indicators of relative performance. In many cases, the number of violations, complaints, and reported incidents is used. As with reported workplace injury and illness data, violation, complaint, and incident data provide only a crude indication of a radiation protection program's overall effectiveness. Even so, it is important to recognize that tangible program outcome measures such as these often dictate management decisions. Hence, safety professionals should have access to baseline violation, complaint, and incident trend data so that more informed preventive strategies can be put into place where possible. To assess the outcomes of radiation protection programs in Texas, data from regulatory compliance activities for a 10-y period, inclusive of calendar years 1988 to 1997, were assembled, summarized, and independently verified. For licensees of radioactive material, the ten most frequently cited violations represented 64% of the total issued during the study period. For registrants of radiation producing devices, the ten most frequently cited violations accounted for 73% of the total. A particular emphasis on proper recordkeeping is evident, and should be noted by any internal radiation protection quality assurance programs. Regardless of the permit type, the vast majority of violations issued were classified as low severity. Licensees were found to be involved in approximately 73% of the incidents recorded, with overexposures and badge overexposures representing the largest identifiable types. Registrants were found to be involved in approximately 57% of the complaints recorded, with the largest identifiable issue being concerns about health care provider qualifications or performance. Although this study was limited to a single state, the results can be of benefit to both quality assurance programs and professional health physics training courses by objectively identifying the areas commonly found to be deficient.

©2000Health Physics Society