Dosimetry Badge FAQs
Why does our facility need to provide dosimetry monitoring devices to our workers?
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) sets limits on exposure for employees in facilities that work with radioactive materials (X-ray, beta or gamma emitters and other diagnostic equipment). For these workers, the maximum whole-body exposure should be no more than 5,000 millirems/year. Workers who handle sealed or unsealed radioactive sources may be required to wear ring or wrist badges, for which the maximum exposure should be no more than 50,000 millirems/year.
In order to safeguard these workers, your facility needs to provide personal monitoring devices to any worker who operate these diagnostic units, and to any pregnant employees working in a lab where said equipment is used, even if the employee(s) are not operating the equipment themselves.
You might be surprised to learn that employees who operate medical diagnostic equipment are typically exposed to more radiation in the course of their duties than are workers at nuclear power plants. So having thorough and accurate personal dosimetry monitoring is even more important than you might think.
Are there different types of monitoring devices?
Absolutely. Personal monitoring devices, aka dosimeters, include “badge” style devices, which are the most common, as well as wrist-mounted and even ring-type devices worn on your finger for those whose hands and arms are regularly exposed as part of their duties. There are two different types of badge-style monitors: Active (real-time monitoring of exposure), and passive (returned to badge mfr. after a specific time period to generate a report).
Which is better, active or passive monitoring?
In theory, active monitoring of exposure is “better,” but it’s not quite that simple. Active monitors can be expensive in comparison to passive devices, and since most utilize a Bluetooth or similar wireless connection to communicate real-time exposure info to a smartphone, they are not immune from dropped connections and loss of connectivity.
So in many cases, passive monitoring is more efficient and more reliable. On the other hand, active dosimeters can alert you to an issue with exposure much sooner than passive devices are capable of doing. Our dosimetry specialist will work with you to help you make the best choice for your facility and your employees.
How can we determine the best type of monitoring device(s) for us to use, and how often they will need to be “swapped”?
Between active and passive devices, rings, wrist badges and others, there are a lot of options. In some cases the work that is done at your facility will determine the device used and the frequency with they’ll need to be exchanged for new dosimeters. As an example, operators at any nuclear medicine facility are required by the state of NJ to use badges and rings, and to exchange them on a monthly basis. Industrial facilities, on the other hand, would rarely need to swap in new monitoring devices more often than once each quarter.
In other cases, the frequency of exchange may be up to you, as well as the type of device, and may even change over time. As we’ve stated above, we’ll be sure to gather enough information from you to ensure that the most appropriate dosimetry monitoring is put in place at your facility.
Wouldn’t it be cheaper and easier to get our dosimeters from the company that makes them in the first place?
Our most humble response to this would be: “No.” We have access to pricing that typically beats what a manufacturer can offer, plus we provide the advantages of a single point of contact for your entire facility, along with 20(?) years of experience providing dosimetry monitoring to clients across the entire U.S.