There are many factors to consider when establishing an area to house machines emitting ionizing radiation. These top three design features will help ensure a safer environment.  

  1. Consider creating a maze.One way to minimize radiation dose near the entrance of a room is to use a passageway with a series of bends — a maze. The maze ensures that radiation can only leave the room after being significantly scattered due to the presence of several walls. Additionally, if a person happens to enter the room during a treatment or procedure, he or she is mostly shielded from the radiation.
  2. Don’t forget warning signs.The International Atomic Energy Agency requires that all facilities using radiation display warning signs at all entrances and at other points in the facilities. It can be a static or illuminated warning sign or a combination of the two. Illuminated warning signs can have two or three stages — in a two-stage sign, the first stage turns on when there is power to the machine, and the second stage turns on when the beam is In a three-stage unit, the first stage turns on when there is power to the machine, stage two is lit when the treatment unit is programmed to deliver a radiation beam, and stage three is lighted when the beam is turned on. These signs will also serve as a visual reminder for staff to wear a dosimeter badge before entering the area.
  3. Make sure the operator can view the patient at all times.It’s important to stay in contact with the patient during the use of x-rays. Observing the patients can be accomplished by using a camera system installed in the facility or through a lead shield window.

Any good radiation safety program starts with a well-designed facility. This is the foundation to build upon for other safety measures, including proper shielding and dosimetry badges for staff.

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