What should my employer be doing about cosmic radiation?

Aircraft operators should give information and provide education about the risks of occupational exposure to radiation to their air crew – that is, the flight crew, cabin crew and anyone else employed to work on board the aircraft while it is in flight.

Women air crew should also be made aware of the need to control doses during pregnancy and to notify their employer if they become pregnant so that any necessary dose control measures can be introduced. (See the FAQ I am a pilot or cabin attendant and I am pregnant. Is my baby at risk from cosmic radiation?)

Air crew exposure to cosmic radiation is regulated by the European Air Navigation Order 2000. Aircraft capable of flying above 49,000 feet must carry an active radiation monitor so that employers know how much cosmic radiation their crew has been exposed to.

If annual exposure is below 1 millisievert (mSv), no controls are required. If annual exposure is above 6 mSv, individual monitoring must be carried out and airlines should adjust rosters to prevent doses above 6 mSv per year. The European Commission also recommends individual monitoring for crew exposed to between 1 mSv and 6 mSv per year.

Employers must keep records for crew exposed to more than 6 mSv per year for at least 30 years or until the crew member is 75, whichever is longer.

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.