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Subject: Re: X-Radiation / Safety

Date: 12/01/02 at 12:36 PM
Posted by: Scott Cargill
E-mail: cargill@pacbell.net
Message Posted:

In Reply to: Re: X-Radiation / Safety posted by Mike Gray on 12/01/02 at 2:26 AM:

Safety in the field of radiation is a dual edged sword, As you've experianced ignorance of the facts leads to irational fears and stupid assumptions by people that haven't a clue. On the other side of the issue you have people who are educated and should know better making mistakes that should have killed them.

The NRC puts out incident reports where mistakes that occured are reported to the rest of the industry in hopes that everyone will learn and reintergrate the respect and fear that everyone should have foremost in their minds when working with radiation. And yet incidents still occur.

To answer your quesiton directly, in the last 10 years that I know of, no one has died or gotten burnt to the point that pictures are taken and published for everyone else to see. I have personal knowledge of 3 incidents where the person should have died though.

1) Radiographer and two assistants working in a power plant, assistant 1 (6 months experiance) and assistant 2 (6 weeks experaince) are left alone for a short time, Assistant 1 doesn't connect the source pig-tail correctly. Long story short, source falls out of the guide tube after they disconnect it, Major bad thing.

2) {My Personal Favorite} After breaking at least 3 major safety rules and procedures, assistant enters the exposure cell housing a 15 Mev lineiar accellerator operating at 9 Mev. No one knew he was in there, shortly after he enters the cell the rest of the personel go to make the next exposure, (I personally know the idiot involved, and had worked in that facility prior to that incident) Idiot boy, is one of the very few people in this world that knows what that unit sounds like in operation, through shear stupidity and blind luck he was standing in one of three places that weren't instantly fatal, (directly under the unit) In 48 seconds, he recieved 148mr, bare in mind the beam was striking the sample 15 feet in front, so a total of 30 feet (there and back) 148mr of back scatter in 48 seconds.... In reality had he been in the primary beam it would have killed him pretty much instantly. They're one of the few instances where the radiation intensity is actually high enough that you'd actually die then and there.

3) Person of over 20 years experiance doesn't survey the source as well as observe the meter as they approached the source. At the same time he approached the source a train goes by, so he had both audio and visual distractions, 600 mr in the time it took him to grab everything up and start to move everything. Realizing his mistake and dropping everything.

I know that person pretty well, He Trained ME! and yet he got hit. Course he's got nearly 30R lifetime, he's a bit of an old timer.

#2 was and IS an idiot, just plain lucky to be alive.

To answer your question. I personaly have no knowledge of someone dieing, but in the decade that I've been involved with radiation and radiation safety I personally know 3 people who were involved directly with incidents, 1 of which should be dead, but by the grace of god.... idiots like that just live a charmed life. The rest of us would have been killed.

Fear is a GOOD thing in my industry, Loose the fear/respect and you're going to get bit.

As I said, reading some of the stuff here scared me stiff. radiation has no place in hobbies. I've literally worked with everything from 100Kv tubes to 15Mev accelerators, Ir192, Ce137, and Co60. With less than 7 R lifetime.

Hope that helped.

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