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Radiation Safety 101 - Is your dental practice compliant?

If the thought of updating your x-ray’s compliance certificate sends a shiver down your spine, rest assured: You are not alone, but you are also not off the hook - it is your legal obligation and your first line of defense, in radiation safety.

Many dentists that we meet find the pending expiry of their compliance certification to be a looming reminder of the time and energy it will take them to have it updated. Factor in the interruptions to their daily workflow, downtime in their surgeries, and you have the formula for a pretty negative association with the whole process. After all, you didn’t spend all those years at uni to complete paperwork and coordinate contractors, right?

Do you know when your EPA certificate of compliance is due for renewal? Image: Shutterstock
Do you know when your EPA certificate of compliance is due for renewal?

No, you’ve put your heart and soul into studying dentistry to serve the oral health needs of your community, and we salute you! Radiographic equipment? Sure, these devices play a vital role in day-to-day diagnosis and treatment planning, but keeping them in peak operating condition is not your passion. And that’s okay.

Because it’s our passion. We treat your x-ray units as if they were our own patients. Keeping them operating safely and within the standardised regulations is our speciality. We understand the compliance and regulatory jargon may confuse, bemuse, or bore you. That's why we will ease you into it in an easy-to-understand format, that leaves you feeling informed and confident working with and around the radiographic equipment in your dental surgery.

Let’s start with the five Ws.

WHO is Gamma Tech?

We are a leading radiographic services provider that specialises in radiation safety and regulations, for the Australian dental community. Our accreditation as Consulting Radiation Experts (CREs) allows us to provide government regulated compliance testing and technical services, for all your radiation-emitting devices. We work with you to ensure your practice meets the applicable safety standards and provide you with the tools necessary to protect yourself, your patients, and the public from potentially harmful radiation exposure.

WHAT are my requirements?

Each state and territory in Australia have their own standardised regulations that cover the usage, ownership, and requirements to attain compliance certification for radiation-emitting devices.

The governing body in New South Wales is the Environment Protection Authority (EPA). As a practice owner, you are responsible for the upkeep of your Radiation Management License (RML), ensuring each piece of radiographic equipment is added to it, and that your compliance certificates are valid.

WHERE can I find you?

Our team operates out of Sydney, serving all of NSW, with a network of partners spanning across all states and territories. If you are located outside of our jurisdiction, we will connect you with someone who can help.

WHEN do I get in touch?

When you have radiation safety questions, concerns, or are due for compliance testing. To achieve and maintain compliance certification in NSW, the EPA requires your radiation-emitting devices to be tested by a CRE following installation, relocation, and major services involving a tubehead replacement, or subsequently, every five years. Click HERE to download a summary of your compliance testing requirements.

WHY should I care?

Because you care about the well-being of your staff, your patients, and the public.

"Although the effective dose from such procedures is low, the frequency of examinations is high enough to warrant monitoring of the doses delivered. Poor performance of radiation apparatus and inadequate quality assurance procedures may cause an unnecessary increase in patient dose." – Radiation Standard 6: Part 3 - Dentistry - NSW EPA

The best way to stay safe, in any environment, is to stay educated. Hence, it is vital to have an understanding of the regulations that apply to your dental practice.

If you have questions relating to radiation safety, or would like to learn more about your obligations, contact us today.

P: 0437 230 808


This story was first published in Australasian Dentist, March – April 2022.


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