Mumbai: The nine government medical colleges that were taken to task by the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board for not providing radiation safety equipment to its staff have complied to the AERB regulations.
Radiology sections at government medical colleges have a footfall of 500-550 patients a day.HT reports published in August and November 2016 had revealed Government Medical Colleges exposing their radiology department staff to health risks by not providing them with thermo-luminescent dosimeter or TLD badges. These badges measure radiation exposure of staff taking X rays. A Right to Information( RTI) activist, reported the violation to AERB on May 19.
The AERB officials ‘action taken’ report sent to the activist reveals that all hospitals have now procured the badges, except JJ and Grant Hospital, who have yet to submit a response.
Officials also confirmed having sent a notice to Dr TP Lahane, Dean , Sir JJ group of Hospitals, for not providing badges to its employees. “It is the responsibility of the employer to ensure the availability of personnel monitoring services to all radiation workers in the institution. No person shall operate radiation generating equipment without using TLD badges,” read the notice. Dr. Lahane in the notice has been asked to respond within 15 days or face regulatory action by AERB. Interestingly, when contacted Lahane’s response was that the notice had been sent to the hospital by mistake as they provide their radiologists with badges. “We have told the AERB the notice was sent to us by mistake. We provide badges to our staff,” he said.
Dr Pankaj Tandon, Head, Medical Application Section(AERB) said, “The AERB had sent reminder notices to colleges to secure badges and got in touch with Renentech Radiation Services, an AERB-accredited laboratory which manufactures the equipment, as some colleges had reported a delay in delivery,”
According to expert opinion, the absence of badges makes assessment of radiation exposure among staff a difficult task.
“Radiation can either cause cancer or affect the reproductive system of an individual. Badges are important as exposure readings are checked every three months. If an individual records higher exposure than permissible, he is barred from the department for 2-3 months,” revealed the activist, reports HT.