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Health and Safety

Ionising Radiation

For more information on Ionising Radiation click here for the relevant chapter of the TUC guide to health and safety "Hazards at Work

Ionising radiation occurs naturally (for instance, from the radioactive decay of natural radioactive substances such as radon gas and its decay products) but can also be produced artificially. People can be exposed externally, to radiation from a radioactive material or a generator such as an x-ray set, or internally, by inhaling or ingesting radioactive substances.

Radiation is harmful to living tissue and people must be protected from excessive or unnecessary exposure. Normally, our greatest exposure is to radiation of natural origin and exposure to sources such as radon gas in houses or underground mines can be relatively high. It is possible, however, to control exposure to radiation of artificial origin and the law requires that doses of radiation to workers and the public be minimised and certain limits must be observed. Radiation risks can be considered in the same way as risks presented by other harmful factors connected with work activity.


HSE ionising radiation pages http://www.hse.gov.uk/radiation/ionising/index.htm

The most recent documents available on this subject are:

Study links radiation to heart disease
A study of nearly 65,000 UK nuclear industry workers over more than 60 years has found a possible link between high radiation exposure and heart disease.
PDF version available for download
7 March 2008

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