One of the many responsibilities of a Radiation Safety Officer is to manage their facility’s personnel dosimetry program and monitor the exposures of the radiation workers employed there. This may seem like a simple task; however, it can be a challenge to get workers to wear and exchange/read their dosimeters in accordance with state and federal regulations. This leads many RSOs to wonder if it is possible to improve dosimetry compliance rates, particularly in large programs that have hundreds of occupationally exposed individuals to monitor.
With the right dosimeter and the right management process, improving dosimetry compliance rates is very possible, regardless of the size of your dosimetry program.
Below we explain the common problems associated with traditional methods of personnel dosimetry program management, as well as offer a solution for improving your dosimetry compliance rates without increasing costs or workload for your staff.
The Problem with Traditional Methods of Dosimetry Management
Dosimetry is one of the key elements of a radiation safety program, but it can also be one of the biggest headaches for Radiation Safety Officers and Environmental, Health, and Safety managers. There are several problems with traditional methods of dosimetry management that managers often encounter, including:
- A time-consuming badge collection and redistribution process
- High costs of running a badge monitoring program
- Time between when an exposure or anomaly is received and when an individual is made aware of the exposure
- Keeping track of historical dose reads and measurements
- Efficient communication with wearers regarding read reminders, exceeding dose limits, and more
These problems can make an RSO feel as though they’re herding cats at worst and like they’re constantly one step behind at best. Juggling these many tasks within just one aspect of a radiation safety program, along with a variety of other responsibilities, it’s not hard to see why dosimetry compliance rates can be rather low.
Versant Physics Personnel Dosimetry Management
Versant Physics manages personnel dosimetry programs a bit differently. In addition to using top-of-the-line electronic dosimeters that utilize the latest monitoring technology, our team of badge specialists and physicists combines customer service, technical support, and quality administration tactics to manage everything your program needs to run successfully. From ordering new badges to ensuring wearers read their badges promptly, our team’s management process is proven and effective.
Versant Physics also utilizes their proprietary radiation safety software Odyssey to manage the personnel dosimetry programs of their clients.
Odyssey is a cloud-based software that features an entire module devoted to personnel dosimetry management. The module includes useful tools like a query builder for compiling data records and a Form Generator for easy management of Form-5s. The module also features a series of customizable widgets that allow users to visualize pre-set metrics in their program, including a User Watch List for wearers likely to exceed internal or annual dose limits, Read Activity, and Badges Communicated.
Instadose+ by Mirion Technologies
Personnel dosimetry programs managed by Versant Physics also utilize the Instadose+ dosimeter. These small, lightweight badges combine Bluetooth technology, Direct Ion Storage (DIS), and SmartMonitoring to wirelessly and remotely transmit radiation dose data. Mobile devices, such as a smartphone or tablet, as well as PCs or hotspot stations, assist with this process.
Each dosimeter has a built-in memory chip with a unique serial code that is assigned to the specific wearer. The badges are assigned long-term, meaning they do not need to be sent in for processing at the end of a monitoring period. Instead, wearers are responsible for reading their badges per the monitoring period set up by their radiation safety program.
Reading the badge is easy and takes less than a minute to complete from start to finish. Wearers typically read their badge by opening the Instadose+ app on their mobile device and holding down the button on the back of the dosimeter for 5 seconds, or until the light on the top of the badge turns green. Readings are then stored within their secure account.
The Instadose+ allows for unlimited, on-demand dose reads, so wearers can complete this process as often as they desire. Not only is this useful from a dose history standpoint, but it also gives wearers the power to view their current and historical dose reads from their online account anytime they want. If they have a question or a concern, the answers are already at their fingertips.
Overall, the Instadose+ simplifies dose reads and makes them more accessible to the individual worker and radiation safety officer. This allows for improved dosimetry compliance across the board.
Its user-friendly read process, historical dose transparency, and accurate, reliable readings are some of the reasons why it is a key player in Versant Physics’ badge management process.
Our experienced technical support specialists are equipped to handle the entire badge management process. This includes ordering badges from the manufacturer to removing wearers from the program. They also handle:
- Remote and/or in-person badge training
- Initialization of badges
- Vendor credentialing and attestation
- On-site event support
Versant Physics assigns a physicist to each client to help drive program compliance. The physicist works with the program RSO to develop an effective plan for making sure wearers read their badges. In the event there is no program RSO, Versant Physics’ physicists can serve as in-house RSOs as well.
Together with the badge team, they are also responsible for:
- Regular communication with wearers (weekly, monthly, or quarterly)
- Read-day reminders
- Non-communicated follow-up reminders
- Comprehensive monthly compliance reports
- Dose monitoring
- High dose alerts
- Dose discussions with RSOs/workers
Consistent communication with wearers is a necessary part of improving overall dosimetry compliance rates. Depending on the monitoring period set by the program RSO, Versant Physics sends out scheduled read-day reminder emails. They also send follow-up emails to those that have not read their badge.
Furthermore, RSOs and program leadership are always kept in the loop as to where their program currently stands. This is done through the use of a comprehensive monthly report.
Versant Physics monthly report displays badges that have not submitted a reading during the monitoring period. It also lists duplicate badges, lost and defective badges, as well as any new badges that were assigned in that month. The report provides status updates on mid-month follow-up with wearers, an active wearer list organized by location, and high dose reports as well.
This report paints a clear picture of program compliance month over month and helps pinpoint areas of concern. It also addresses program elements that could be improved upon in the following months.
Customer Service and Technical Support
When issues arise or wearers experience problems with their badges, Versant Physics’ team of technical support specialists are trained and ready to handle them promptly. They will help with:
- Badge troubleshooting
- Issuing replacement badges
- Phone and email support
Additionally, wearers have access to the Versant Physics support desk, where they can submit questions or concerns with their badges 24/7. All requests submitted by wearers and program personnel receive a response within 24-hours.
A Note on Radiation Dose Limits
Versant Physics clients can set their own dose limits for their employees (within the regulatory limits) depending on what works best for their program.
For example, some clients prefer to set specific limits for single doses. Others have more lenient thresholds that are measured quarterly. Whatever your program’s monitoring preferences are, Versant Physics is prepared to help you implement and manage them.
Versant Physics badge specialists, physicists, and technical support teams provide efficient badge management catered to the needs of your program. With the help of the Instadose+ dosimeter, Odyssey radiation safety software, and years of experience managing dosimetry programs of all sizes, we can work with you to help improve dosimetry compliance rates in your program.
Contact our team to learn more about our badge management process and pricing.