Radiation incident reporting
A radiation incident is any unintended or ill-advised event when using 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 warrant investigation.
If you are experiencing an emergency situation, or you need to report an incident which requires immediate assistance from the EPA, please contact the EPA Radiation Emergency Response Team (ERT) on 1800 307 733.
The ERT can provide immediate assistance to any incidents including hazardous materials (HAZMAT) and chemical, biological, radiation and nuclear incidents. Alternativley, there is information below which specifies the types of incidents that are to be reported using the online radiation incident reporting form.
The EPA radiation incident form is to be submitted for an incident involving radiation exposure from an ionising radiation apparatus or radioactive substance. The form should be submitted as soon as reasonably practicable, and not later than 7 days after the incident occurred.
Note that other incidents which are considered significant but do not result in any radiation exposure, such as near-miss situations, can also be reported. Submissions made using this form are confidential and are used by the EPA to assist others in avoiding or preventing future incidents.
The completed incident report will be reviewed by the EPA prior to forwarding onto ARPANSA for inclusion in the Australian Radiation Incident Register (ARIR). Submissions to the ARIR are de-identified and do not disclose any personal information. You may be aware that the ARIR maintains a database of radiation incident reports compiled from reports provided by the Commonwealth, State and Territory radiation protection authorities.
Examples of radiation incidents
Some examples of radiation incidents that are to be reported using the radiation incident reporting form are specified below.
- Medical exposure of patients
- Any diagnostic procedure other than as prescribed by the authorising practitioner.
- Any diagnostic procedure resulting in an observable acute radiation effect.
- Any unplanned or unkonwn (but later realised) exposure to a pregnant female or foetus.
- Any therapeutic treatment delivered to either the wrong patient or the wrong tissue, or using the wrong radiopharmaceutical.
- When during the administration of a radioactive substance for diagnostic purposes, the activity of the substance administered exceeds the activity prescribed in the hospital/practice standard protocol for that test by 50% or more.
- When during the administration of a radioactive substance for therapeutic purposes, the activity administered differs from that prescribed by 15% or more.
- When during administration of a therapeutic dose of radiation from a radiation apparatus or a sealed radioactive source, the dose delivered differs from the total prescribed treatment dose by more than 10%.
- Incidents that cause or may lead to radiation injuries or radiation doses exceeding the annual dose limits to radiation workers, or members of the public
- Lost or stolen radioactive sources or radiation apparatus
- Unintentional or unauthorised discharges of radioactive materials into the environment
- Where unintentional or unauthorised activity discharges to the environment have occurred.
- Damage to, or malfunctioning of, a radiation apparatus or sealed source apparatus. Where the damage or malfunction could in any way affect the radiation safety of the apparatus, including issues such as shielding integrity or causing increased radiation levels.
- Contamination with, or dispersal of, a radioactive material. Where a surface, substance or material is contaminated by a radioactive substance resulting from the spillage of a radioactive substance.
- Out of control source of radiation. Where a radiation source is out of control, for example, where a source is not safely secured or shielded, or contamination is not confined
- Other incidents. Such incidents include near-miss situations that may serve as a warning to other users, such as situations where radiation monitors at the entrance of scrap metal processing factories and landfill sites are triggered.
If you have any questions about radiation incident reporting, please contact the Radiation Protection Branch via email or by telephone on 08 8463 7826.