What about ionising radiation?

If your work exposes you to ionising radiation, you are covered by specific health legislation known as the Ionising Radiations Regulations 1999 (IRR99), and your employer is known as a 'radiation employer'. IRR99 applies to workplaces where radioactive substances and electrical equipment that emit ionising radiation are used, such as the nuclear industry, healthcare, offshore drilling, manufacturing, construction and research establishments. IRR99 also applies to natural sources of ionising radiation, such as radon.

IRR99 says your employer must:

  • undertake a PRIOR risk assessment before starting any new activity with ionising radiation;
  • keep radiation exposures as low as reasonably practicable, and below dose limits specified in the legislation. To do this, your employer should look first at engineering controls and design features, then safe systems of work, and only use personal protective equipment (PPE) as a last resort; and
  • consult a suitably qualified Radiation Protection Adviser (RPA) to advise them on complying with IRR99. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) produces advice on the qualifications that RPAs must hold and how to find one.
Note: This content is provided as general background information and should not be taken as legal advice or financial advice for your particular situation. Make sure to get individual advice on your case from your union, a source on our free help page or an independent financial advisor before taking any action.