Black International Ionizing Radiation Symbol on yellow backgroundThe Employer is responsible for ensuring all relevant staff are trained in the use of the x-ray equipment and the precautions that are required to be taken to restrict radiation exposure.

Ensure all relevant staff undertake appropriate training with regard to:

  • the risks to health created by exposure to x-rays;
  • the precautions that need to be taken;
  • the requirement of staff to inform the Employer, in writing, if they are pregnant;
  • the importance of complying with the medical, technical, and administrative requirements of legislation;
  • use of relevant equipment as required by their operator entitlement.

Explain to staff their responsibilities with regard to compliance with The Ionising Radiations Regulations 2017 [1], which include:

  • not knowingly exposing themselves or others to radiation greater than is necessary for the purposes of their work;
  • taking reasonable care when working with radiation;
  • reporting immediately, to the Employer, the occurrence of an incident or accident with x-ray equipment or any suspected overexposure to themselves or someone else.

Ensure IR(ME)R Practitioners and Operators are adequately trained, including having theoretical knowledge and practical experience, before carrying out any dental exposures or practical aspects of radiography.

  • Training should include radiation topics relevant to their function and specific area of practice as listed in Schedule 3 of IR(ME)R [2].
  • Additional training is required in order to justify, perform or interpret CBCT examinations. Training is not required to make referrals but is advised [3].

Ensure IR(ME)R Practitioners and Operators undertake relevant continuing professional development (CPD). The General Dental Council recommends at least 5 hours of CPD in radiography and radiation protection per CPD cycle (5 years) [4]. To comply with IR(ME)R, the ‘Guidance Notes for Dental Practitioners on the Safe Use of X-ray Equipment’ [3] recommends that courses cover (as appropriate to the individual’s scope of practice):

  • the principles of radiation physics;
  • risks of ionising radiation;
  • radiation doses in dental radiography;
  • factors affecting doses in dental radiography;
  • the principles of radiation protection;
  • statutory requirements;
  • selection (referral) criteria;
  • quality assurance.

Provide any other people who might be exposed to radiation in the practice with adequate information to ensure their health and safety (e.g. a carer or comforter, non-clinical staff).

Keep records of all staff training and ensure training is kept up to date (e.g. see Radiography Training and Record Dec 2019 template).

The Employer is responsible for ensuring that training records for IR(ME)R Practitioners and Operators support their entitlement and scope of practice (e.g. evidence of training in clinical evaluation of dental x-ray images), include the nature of the training and dates completed, and are available for inspection by an appropriate authority. An example Employer’s Procedure on Training and Education (EP9) for IR(ME)R Practitioners and Operators includes example training records which can be downloaded via Written Procedures and Protocols.