ASTM Subcommittee Develops New Inspection Standard

An ASTM International subcommittee seeks comments on the development of a new standard designed to offer specific guidelines for the practice of inspecting radiation-protection garments in health care settings.

Subcommittee F23.70 on Radiological Hazards, which is part of ASTM International Committee F23 on Protective Clothing, has proposed the new WK15823 standard, Practice for the Fluoroscopic Inspection of Radiation Protection Garments, to develop considerations for acceptance and rejection of used radiation-protection garments that may have affected areas.

“Besides visual inspection for obvious damage, garments are often inspected fluoroscopically to detect defects that are not visible to the naked eye,” said F23.70 Chair and Golden Gate Medical Supplies President Gary Glenn. “Such inspections are routinely carried out without reference to a specific method and without acceptance or rejection criteria.”

The proposed standard would provide such criteria, and in the process could reduce radiation exposure by not subjecting workers to unnecessary inspections. Rejecting garments that are still suitable results in subsequent inspections for new garments that would not have been in use otherwise.

“Needless rejection of garments that could be considered acceptable is expensive and exposes the inspector to additional radiation during inspection of replacement garments,” said Glenn.

Inspection Standards Could Reduce Fluoroscopy

Glenn told OccupationalHazards.com he hopes WK15823 could “provide a standardized method for the inspection and evaluation of radiation protection garments.”

He added that developing inspection practices could lead to the eventual possibility of reducing or eliminating the amount of fluoroscopy (a form of x-ray generation) used in inspections, which would in turn reduce the exposure of radiation to health care workers.

The new standard would supplement standard F 2547, Test Method for Determining the Attenuation Properties in a Primary X-ray Beam of Materials Use to Protect Against Radiation Generated During the Use of X-ray Equipment. F 2547 was approved in 2006.

The subcommittee invites radiological health care professionals to comment on the proposed new standard and to suggest how the standard could be designed to meet their needs.

Committee F23 will convene in Tampa, Fla., Jan. 29-31, 2008, where subcommittee members will discuss the preliminary outline for this new standard.

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