A Brief Review of Safety Issues in Industries with High Levels of Radiation Involved

Posted on May 2, 2023

radiation detection software


The term radiation might evoke fear in individuals with minimal knowledge about its presence in industry. Fortunately, the expertise of professionals trained in safety issues and the equipment that minimizes or removes risk have created an environment conducive to health and safety. As with any industrial business, problems can arise and present challenges, cutting across various sectors, including healthcare, tech, mining, and manufacturing.    

Let's take a closer look at these challenges and how the right radiation detection gear is critical to managing exposure. While radiation detection is essential to protect workers and the public, technology has to be supported by sound operating procedures and good training. Digital radiation detection and monitoring tools used by S.E. International are part of the solution. There must be more than an old analog Geiger counter for most settings and more than just radiation detectors. You need radiation detection software among your other radiation monitoring tools, which is exactly what S.E. International can provide.    

Radiation Detection and Other Management Tools  

Safety training, procedures, equipment, management, and monitoring equipment are all necessary components of a comprehensive safety strategy. No business owner wants their management team to possess a casual attitude toward radiation or other safety hazards, thus creating a culture where mistakes are more likely to occur. Everyone who handles or works around radioactive material needs to know the correct safety procedures to follow and what personal protective equipment they need. S.E. International supplies the digital radiation detection and monitoring tools that factories, mines, and labs need.   

General Issues That Increase Risk  

Some radiation incidents are inevitable across any industry, even with the proper safeguards and procedures in place. However, many incidents either happen or worsen because of specific avoidable issues. These include:    

  • Lack of training  
  • Ignoring security protocols  
  • Lack of correct protective equipment  
  • Lack of adequate radiation monitoring  
  • Mishandling waste  

Those problems come up across industry sectors where radioactive materials are important, but different settings bring different handling, transport, and storage issues.   

Some Industry Specific Examples  

Each industry that uses radioactive material in some way has factors unique to their business. A summary of some of those issues for industries that commonly use or process radioactive materials follows.   

Healthcare (Medical Imaging and Testing)  

Some medical testing equipment comes with the risk of radiation exposure. There are two risks unique to this work:  

  • Incorrect positioning of patients: Patients must be positioned correctly during imaging procedures to minimize the exposure of healthcare workers to radiation. Failure to correctly position patients can result in excess radiation exposure for the patient and the healthcare worker.  
  • Poorly maintained equipment: Equipment used in imaging procedures must be regularly maintained and checked for malfunctions. Failure to do so can also result in excess radiation exposure.  

Nuclear Research Laboratories   

Labs engaged in nuclear engineering, nuclear physics, or similar kinds of research use radioactive isotopes in sufficient quantities that exposure can potentially become a hazard. In those settings, workers have strict rules to follow regarding that radioactive material. A couple of problems that might inherently occur in a lab can include the following: 

Improper storage and labeling: Radioactive materials must be stored in designated areas and appropriately labeled to prevent accidental exposure.  

Failure to properly store and label materials can result in confusion and mistakes.  

Contaminating work surfaces: Radioactive materials can contaminate work surfaces if spilled or improperly handled. Lab workers must take extra care to avoid contamination and ensure surfaces are cleaned regularly.  


Mining operations, including uranium mining, can expose workers to radioactive isotopes as the product is being mined or in the tailings produced.   

  • Human error: The most common cause of excess radiation exposure in mining is human error. This includes failure to follow proper procedures, not wearing appropriate personal protective equipment, and not monitoring radiation levels properly.  
  • Equipment failure: Equipment used in handling radioactive materials, such as storage containers, monitoring devices, and protective gear, must be regularly maintained and checked for malfunctions. Failure to do so can result in excess radiation exposure.  
  • Improper disposal of radioactive waste: Radioactive waste must be handled and disposed of properly to prevent contamination and exposure. Improper disposal can lead to excessive radiation exposure for workers and the environment.  
  • Poor ventilation: Proper ventilation is necessary to remove radioactive dust and gas from the air. Inadequate ventilation can result in workers breathing in radioactive particles, leading to radiation exposure.  
  • Contamination of work surfaces and clothing: Uranium can contaminate work surfaces and clothing if not appropriately handled. Workers must take extra care to avoid contamination and ensure that surfaces and clothing are cleaned regularly.  

Technological and Management Solutions  

Limiting radiation exposure to a safe level requires area monitoring, individual monitoring via dosimeter, and detection gear for when there is a spill or an accident. An analog Geiger counter,  digital wand-type monitors, and radiation dosimeter badges or pens are effective equipment at any work location. Federal regulations may also call for a facility to have an area radiation monitor. Regardless of the equipment used, the organization should also use radiation detection software for recordkeeping and reporting.   

Preventing Radiation Exposure in Industry  

Lack of training and failure to follow procedures are among the common causes of radiation exposure events and other causes that tend to be unique to certain operating environments. If your organization deals with radioactive material, it needs the Radiation Alert digital radiation detection equipment, analog Geiger counters, area monitors, and radiation detection software that S.E. International sells and services. Contact us to learn more about our hardware and software.  


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