Users of radiation have a responsibility to do so safely and in accordance with the Radiation Management Plan relevant to the particular radiation source. Occasionally something may occur that results in an unplanned or unexpected exposure to radiation. This is classified as a radiation incident.
The definition of a radiation incident is given in Schedule 13 and the Glossary of the National Directory for Radiation Protection, June 2017 (NDRP) as follows:
A radiation incident is any unintended or ill-advised event when using ionising radiation apparatus, specified types of non-ionising radiation apparatus or radioactive substances, which results in, or has the potential to result in, an exposure to radiation to any person or the environment, outside the range of that normally expected for a particular practice, including events resulting from operator error, equipment failure, or the failure of management systems that warranted investigation.
A list of the types of incident which should be reported for each type of radiation practice is also provided in Schedule 13 of the NDRP.
If an incident has occurred during the use of a radiation source or radioactive material please use the Radiation Incident Report form to report the incident to the Health Protection Service.
The radiation incident report will then be reviewed by the ACT Radiation Council and if Council feels that the incident meets their criteria for reporting, the incident will then be reported to the Australian Radiation Incident Register (ARIR), which is administered by ARPANSA. You are not able to report the radiation incident directly to the ARIR.
Every radiation incident could potentially be used as a learning opportunity to make improvements to radiation safety, and therefore should be reported to the regulator, for subsequent reporting to the ARIR if appropriate. There is no threshold for reporting and no distinction between major and minor incidents at the initial reporting stage.