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Pay attention, dentists!

Dentists, radiation and the law – what you need to know

UK regulators have recently expressed concern about poor awareness and compliance with radiation protection legislation in dental practices and in some cases this has led to prosecution. All dentists should therefore be aware of the main UK laws and how they should be implemented in practice.

The principal regulations are the Ionising Radiations Regulations 1999 (known as IRR99) and the Ionising Radiation (Medical Exposure) Regulations 2000 (known as IR(ME)R). The key requirements of IRR99 for a dental practice include carrying out radiation risk assessments, appointment of a suitable Radiation Protection Adviser (RPA), designation of radiation controlled areas and ensuring that local rules for safe working practice are in place. The Health and Safety Executive’s Radiation Team is responsible for inspecting compliance with IRR99 and their view following a series of recent inspections of dental practices is that some have paid no attention to its most basic requirements.

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