Radiation safety is a critical component of X-ray equipment, and radiological technologists use several methods to protect themselves against ionizing radiation. This includes the use of armor and compliance with the ALARA principle. However, an important component of radiation safety are the safety features of the X-ray equipment of the imaging devices used by X-ray technicians. The control console, located behind a protective barrier, displays the exposure parameters and the distance between the source and the receiver of the image.
It also has a main on/off switch for current flow to the tube, as well as a layout to end exposure immediately or after a predetermined time. This makes it one of the most essential safety features of X-ray equipment. The medical director of a health center approves responsible users who are authorized to use X-ray equipment. Some doctors and technologists may only have restricted privileges (for example, they limit themselves to performing tests without radiation, such as ultrasounds). All personnel operating X-ray equipment must have documented training on the safety features of X-ray equipment and the safe operation of the devices they will use. X-ray equipment should be used in accordance with the manufacturer's guidelines and only for its intended purpose.
During imaging, the patient must remain in sight and the operator must be able to communicate with them and their companions. The operator must warn all staff present in the room before turning on the X-ray device. X-ray machines should never be left unattended when they produce radiation. The state or local radiation control agency approves the shielding of X-ray rooms in new facilities or after remodeling in existing healthcare organizations. At the time of inspection, records related to X-ray protection, such as the measurement of radiation behind shielded walls, must be submitted.
Different states have different requirements regarding warning signs, interlocks, restricted access and the lead-equivalent thickness of the protective material. Medical physicists oversee the safety features of X-ray equipment. The qualifications needed for medical physicists vary from state to state. Service providers who install, repair, and test radiographic equipment must be examined by the RSO and approved through a state-specific process. It is also up to the RSO to maintain all equipment records in accordance with state radiation safety oversight agency regulations. X-ray equipment must be maintained by qualified personnel and tested periodically.
Radiation safety includes managing doses to which patients are exposed. Some organizations and agencies accredit facilities that meet safety-related criteria. In addition to generic safety features mentioned above in digital radiography equipment, there are certain safety features of X-ray equipment specific to each modality.