Radiation Safety Culture (RSC) for Higher Education, Research and Teaching (HERT)
AURPO is one of the The Society for Radiological Protection (SRP) partner societies, SRP being the UK’s Associate society to the International Radiation Protection Association (IRPA).
In 2014 IRPA published a document on Guiding Principles for Establishing a Radiation Safety Culture, that aims to to help equip radiation protection professionals to promote a successful RP culture in their organisation, an excerpt of which is given below.
The IRPA Guiding Principles for Radiation Protection Professionals on Stakeholder Engagement
Radiological Protection Professionals should endeavour to:
- Identify opportunities for engagement and ensure the level of engagement is proportional to the nature of the radiation protection issues and their context.
- Initiate the process as early as possible, and develop a sustainable implementation plan.
- Enable an open, inclusive and transparent stakeholder engagement process.
- Seek out and involve relevant stakeholders and experts.
- Ensure that the roles and responsibilities of all participants, and the rules for cooperation are clearly defined.
- Collectively develop objectives for the stakeholder engagement process, based on a shared understanding of issues and boundaries.
- Develop a culture which values a shared language and understanding, and favours collective learning.
- Respect and value the expression of different perspectives.
- Ensure a regular feedback mechanism is in place to inform and improve current and future stakeholder engagement processes.
- Apply the IRPA Code of Ethics in their actions within these processes to the best of their knowledge.
Radiation Safety Culture Working Groups
Since then, one of SRP’s Goals has been to “promote a strong Radiation Protection Culture in the UK” and five Working Groups have been setup to develop and implement work programmes:
- Co-ordinating Working Group
- Higher Education, Research & Teaching (HERT)
- General Users
The HERT Working Group
AURPO is leading the HERT Working Group (WG) on Radiation Safety Culture (RSC) and has been undertaking work to look at RSC within the HERT sector.
A paper was published in the Journal of Radiological Protection on the initial work by the HERT WG, it is freely available:
The advantages of creating a positive radiation safety culture in the higher education and research sectors.
T Coldwell et al. 2015 J. Radiol. Prot. 35 917
What Constitutes a Good Approach to Radiation Safety Culture?
10 Points for Radiation Safety Culture in the HERT Sector
The following points could be used to incorporate suitable questions into general inspection regimes, to develop metrics for inclusion in Standards, and to input into training at all levels. Each ‘Culture factor’ has a number of suggested performance indicators that might be used to assess it.
- Engagement of management Show More
- Appropriate training Show More
- Regular audit / inspection of radiation safety procedures / practices Show More
- Appropriate management of radioactive materials and radiation generating equipment Show More
- Appropriate appointment & use of Recognised Experts & Officers Show More
- Management of staff doses Show More
- Appropriate Incident handling Show More
- Effective Communication Show More
- Resources Show More
- Professional Societies Show More
Of particular interest is the development of tools which can be used to measure the current state of RSC and develop it in a positive direction.
As part of this, a brief online survey was disseminated to all ionising radiation and non-ionising radiation stakeholders in the HERT sector. The results have been analysed and a presentation was delivered to the IRPA European Congress in The Hague, Netherlands, in June 2018.
You can view a PDF version of it here: Presentation of the HERT Radiation Safety Culture Research Results.
The next step is to write a paper for submission to a journal with our findings and recommendations.
Updates will be provided here as and when they’re available.