If you own x-ray equipment, it's important to understand the regulations and requirements surrounding the use of ionising radiation. One key aspect of these regulations is the requirement for a Radiation Management Licence (RML).
In this blog post, we will dive into why obtaining an EPA radiation licence in New South Wales is not only a legal requirement, but also a crucial step towards ensuring the safety of those who come into contact with your equipment, and the consequences of operating your x-ray units without a valid RML.
What is a Radiation Management Licence?
Ionising radiation can be hazardous and pose a risk to human health and the environment if not properly managed. An RML ensures that organisations that operate or manage sources of ionising radiation, including dental x-ray equipment, have the necessary measures in place to control and minimise exposure to ionising radiation.
The licence is issued by the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA). It authorises the possession, use, transfer, and disposal of these sources in compliance with federal and state regulations, protecting both the operators and the public.
If your dental practice owns and operates radiographic equipment, the person responsible for the regulated material must
hold a valid Radiation Management Licence and
must comply with any conditions to which the licence is subject.
Secondly, it is also required that every x-ray unit, OPG, or CBCT in the practice is registered and listed on the licence, and that each unit holds a valid Certificate of Compliance.
How to obtain an EPA Radiation Management Licence
The licence should be acquired before installing your x-ray equipment, and it is recommended to apply for it well in advance, as the issuance process may take several weeks.
The application can be submitted through eConnect EPA, the Environment Protection Authority’s online licence management tool. You’ll find all relevant information pertaining to your application, including requirements, conditions, and fees, HERE.
During this process, you will also have the opportunity to register the radiographic equipment at your practice onto your licence. To do so, it is important to have the necessary information for each unit, such as serial numbers and model names, readily available and documented. This information can typically be found on stickers on the tubehead and main control box. If this information is not yet available, it can be added later.
If you already have a Radiation Management Licence and need to make any changes, you may also submit the necessary variations through eConnect EPA.
Differentiating Your Radiation Management Licence and Radiation User Licence
It is important to note that a Radiation Management Licence and a Radiation User Licence are two separate and distinct licences. A Radiation User Licence is necessary for individuals who operate radiographic equipment within the practice. Terms and conditions apply for each of the different modalities.
If you operate the x-ray units in your dental practice, check out the conditions and criteria for Radiation User Licences in New South Wales HERE.
Renewal of your Radiation Management Licence
If you are the owner of the x-ray equipment in your practice, it is imperative that you ensure the validity of your RML for as long as you own and operate the equipment. It is your responsibility to renew your EPA licences prior to their expiry dates.
The NSW EPA will send you a reminder to renew your licence, but you can also easily check the expiry date on your RML or through your eConnect EPA portal. By staying on top of your RML renewal, you can ensure that your practice continues to operate in compliance with regulations, protecting both the operators and the public.
What happens if I don’t hold a valid RML while owning and operating x-ray units?
Failing to comply with radiation management licensing requirements can have severe consequences. It is imperative that your dental practice maintains a valid RML at all times.
The Radiation Control Act 1990 No 13 clearly outlines that the person responsible for regulated material must hold an RML and must comply with any conditions attached to it. It also specifies the penalties for non-compliance.
In New South Wales, 1 penalty unit equals $110.00. (as of January 2023)
➡️ A corporate dental practice can be fined up to $165,000 (or 2 years imprisonment, or both).
➡️ A private dental practice can be fined up to $27,500 (or 2 years imprisonment, or both).
Therefore, it is in the best interest of dental practices to ensure their RML is valid and up-to-date at all times.
Why are the penalties for non-compliance so high?
The penalties for non-compliance with NSW regulations can be substantial, but they exist for a vital reason: to protect the health and safety of individuals and communities. The ionising radiation produced by x-ray equipment can be hazardous if not properly managed and regulated.
That's why it's crucial to make sure that your dental practice is in compliance with the relevant regulations, starting with the possession of a valid RML.
To ensure that your practice is in good standing, take a few minutes today to confirm the following:
1️⃣ Is your practice's RML up-to-date and valid?
2️⃣ Are all your x-ray units correctly documented on the RML?
3️⃣ Do you have a valid compliance certificate for each piece of x-ray equipment, or a copy of your portal assessment if certified after July 2022?
If you have any questions or concerns about your obligations under the Radiation Control Act or EPA regulations, don't hesitate to reach out to our team at Gamma Tech.
We'll be happy to assist you in achieving compliance and maintaining a safe, healthy environment for your patients and staff.
📱 0437 230 808