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Radiation safety outside the department (Rad specific)


Radiation exposure to patients, personnel, and the public is kept as low as reasonably achievable (ALARA) when imaging outside the department


+ Risks of radiation

  • Imaging outside the department creates special challenges for radiation safety.
    • Ionizing radiation is introduced into an area not normally designated for radiography or fluoroscopy1
    • Members of the public and other personnel may be present in the area at the time of exposure

+ Preventing unnecessary exposure to radiation

  • The principles of ALARA (As Low As Reasonably Achievable) are followed to minimize radiation exposure to all present:2-5
    • All those not essential to the examination are asked to leave the immediate area prior to exposure2
    • An audible warning is made that the exposure is about to occur and sufficient time is allowed for others to vacate2
    • Those vacating are asked to stay away until they are informed that the examination is complete2
    • Those who remain are advised to stand as far away from the patient as practical while still being able to perform their duties3,4
    • Shielding is provided for those who must remain in the area (including the MRT operating the mobile equipment)4
    • The primary beam is directed away from any occupied area; this may involve moving the patient
    • Fluoroscopy is used only when necessary – in general, pulsed fluoroscopy is preferred

+ References

  1. Carlton RR, Adler AM, eds. Principles of Radiographic Imaging: An Art and a Science, 4th Ed. Clifton Park, NY: Thomson; 2006.
  2. Winnipeg Regional Health Authority X-Ray Safety Committee. X-Ray Safety Manual. Available at: Accessed March 20, 2013.
  3. Statkiewicz Sherer, M, Visconti P, Russell Rittenour E. Radiation Protection in Medical Radiography 6th ed. Maryland: Mosby; 2011.
  4. Health Canada. Safety Code 35: Safety Procedures for the Installation, Use and Control of X-ray Equipment in Large Medical Radiological Facilities. Available at: Accessed March 20, 2013.
  5. College of Medical Radiation Technologists of Ontario. Standards of Practice. Safe Practice. Available at: Accessed October 4, 2013.

Related guidelines



October 16, 2013


Canadian Association of Medical Radiation Technologists
85 Albert St, Suite 1000, Ottawa, ON, K1P 6A4
phone: 613 234-0012 / 800 463-9729
fax: 613 234-1097