radioactivity and covid-19?


This subject matter (brought to you by Brett Clarke, CWI) is a little bit of a departure from what we usually include in our SIC BLAST but we feel it is timely and interesting.  It is almost human nature to ease up on the social distancing and other safety measures as we all go about doing what we do every day; however, please do not ease up.  Be resolute and vigilant because the Coronavirus is certainly still among us.

A very large number of personnel comprise F&R, and many are trained to use radioactive materials and wear thermoluminecent dosimeter (TLD) badges. One of the main safety concerns is how to avoid unnecessary exposure to radiation; exactly what we are trying to do now with COVID-19!

What is the main ingredient to working safely with radioactive materials? Following the guidelines of ALARA (As Low as Reasonably Achievable) by controlling Time, Distance and Shielding. We can do the same with the virus.

Time. Limit your exposure in areas where the virus could be present. Keep durations short when in contact with other individuals or interior spaces. The CDC says time around the virus is a huge part of whether you catch it. Radiation exposure works the same way.

Distance. Social distancing works. The farther you can be from contamination from expelled droplets, the less chance of a bad outcome. If you double the distance, you are only exposed to one quarter of the problem! This works in accordance with the Inverse Square Law (see below). Radiation and the spread of COVID droplets are affected in the same manner.

Shielding. Use the Plexiglas barriers, keep walls between others and yourself and use your mask! Anything between you and radiation or the virus, makes you safer.

We, as radiation workers, all use ALARA to keep ourselves safer. Let’s apply these same principles also to keep us safe from COVID-19!

The Inverse Square Law

The principle in physics that the effect of certain forces on an object varies by the inverse square of the distance between the object and the source of the force. The magnitude of light, sound, and gravity obey this law, as do other quantities.

But Wait, We Have a Lot More to Say!

CODE issues got you cracking up? For a complete picture of the Code and how it relates to Special Inspections, F&R would love to provide an AIA accredited Lunch & Learn presentation to the professionals at your firm. Contact Alan Tuck for more details at: