Organized by the International Atomic Energy Agency
Hosted by the Government of Switzerland
Convened jointly with the International Labour Organization
Co-sponsored by the European Commission
Held with the co-operation of the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency and the World Health Organization

International Conference on
Occupational Radiation Protection:
Protecting Workers Against Exposure to Ionizing Radiation

Geneva, Switzerland, 26-30 August 2002

Findings and Recommendations of the Conference

Information on Logistics, Meeting Premises
Provisional Programme
Poster Guidelines
Hotels, Hotel Reservation Form
Information on Geneva



    Occupational exposure to ionizing radiation can occur in a range of industries, mining and milling; medical institutions, educational and research establishments and nuclear fuel cycle facilities. The term 'occupational exposure' refers to the radiation exposure incurred by a worker, which is attributable to the worker's occupation and committed during a period of work.

    According to the latest (2000) Report of the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR), an estimated 11 million workers are monitored for exposure to ionizing radiation. They incur radiation doses attributable to their occupation, which range from a small fraction of the global average background exposure to natural radiation up to several times that value. It should be noted that the UNSCEAR 2000 Report describes a downward trend in the exposure of several groups of workers, but it also indicates that occupational exposure is affecting an increasingly large group of people worldwide.

    The International Basic Safety Standards for Protection against Ionizing Radiation and for the Safety of Radiation Sources (BSS), which are co-sponsored by, inter alia, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) and the World Health Organization (WHO), establish a system of radiation protection which includes radiation dose limits for occupational exposure. Guidance supporting the requirements of the BSS for occupational protection is provided in three interrelated Safety Guides, jointly sponsored by the IAEA and the ILO. These Guides describe, for example, the implications for employers in discharging their main responsibilities (such as setting up appropriate radiation protection programmes) and similarly for workers (such as properly using the radiation monitoring devices provided to them).

    It should be noted, however, that radiation protection is only one factor that must be addressed in order to protect the worker's overall health and safety. The radiation protection programme should be established and managed in co-ordination with other health and safety disciplines, such as industrial hygiene, industrial safety and fire safety.

    Less than half of the occupationally exposed workers are exposed to artificial radiation sources. The remainder are exposed to elevated levels of natural radionuclides. Notably, this latter group receives a higher average annual dose than those workers exposed to artificial sources. The principal natural sources of radiation exposure, other than the mining and processing of uranium ores, are radon in buildings; non-uranium or thorium ores that contain significant traces of natural radionuclides, other underground workplaces and cosmic rays at aircraft altitudes. Some of these exposures are amenable to control but others are not. The BSS provide for the exclusion of those exposures, the magnitude or likelihood of which is essentially unamenable to control.


    The IAEA is organizing its first International Conference on Occupational Radiation Protection. The objective of the Conference is to foster the exchange of information on current issues related to the exposure of workers to ionizing radiation in the course of their work and to formulate recommendations, as appropriate, regarding measures to strengthen international co-operation in occupational radiation protection. The Conference will address the issue of establishing occupational radiation protection standards and providing for their application. It will focus on a number of specific problems, inter alia, the complex issue of controlling occupational exposure to natural sources of radiation.


    The Conference is aimed at: governmental officials involved in occupational radiation protection matters including representatives of regulatory authorities; workers and employers involved in the use of radiation sources and in the operation of installations containing or handling radioactive materials; radiation protection experts, researchers and persons responsible for occupational monitoring services; and manufacturers of radiation emitting apparatus and other radiation sources. Representatives of workers' and employers' organizations as well as other interested parties would also find this conference of interest.



    The opening session will include welcoming addresses by representatives of the host Government, opening addresses by the IAEA and the ILO, statements by the other co-sponsoring and co-operating organizations, and a keynote address by the President of the Conference.

    A background session will give the scientific and organizational background with regard to occupational radiation protection. This will be in the form of keynote presentations, including presentations by representatives of UNSCEAR, the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP), the International Commission on Radiological Measurements and Units (ICRU), the ILO, the IAEA and EC. There will also be special presentations from the IAEA/NEA Information System on Occupational Exposure (ISOE) and from the International Committee on High Levels of Natural Radiation and Radon Areas.

    This will be followed by a briefing session on Stakeholders involvement where representatives for workers, employers, regulators and radiation protection professionals give their views on the present status and problems to be solved with regard to occupational exposure.

    A series of topical sessions will cover selected topics relating to occupational radiation protection. Each topical session will be addressed by one or more keynote speaker(s), introducing the topic, and the relevant contributed papers will be summarized by a Rapporteur. The presentations will be followed by a general discussion.

    Posters of some of the contributed papers will be available for viewing and discussion.

    A series of round table sessions will address controversial issues and seek recommendations for possible future actions.

    Topical and round table session summaries for each day will be presented in the following morning by the Chairpersons.

    The Conference will end with a concluding session at which the summaries of all topical and round table sessions will be condensed and presented by the President of the Conference as the Conference findings, conclusions and recommendations.



    The topical sessions will cover:

    • TS1 Radiation risks in the workplace in perspective: radiation in comparison with other hazards; protection criteria and regulatory systems; trends and implications in the overall context of occupational health and safety.

    • TS2 Infrastructure development: regulatory framework; safety culture; quality management; education and training; human resources; regulatory effectiveness (authorization, inspection and enforcement); approval/accreditation of dosimetry services; authorization/recognition of qualified experts.

    • TS3 Status of operational implementation of Basic Safety Standards: Country experiences with: responsibilities; alternative employment; conditions for young persons; classification of areas; local rules and supervision; personal protective equipment; co-operation between employers, registrants and licensees; conditions of service; special compensatory arrangements; female workers; contractors; special circumstances (doses above limits); potential exposures; optimization of protection; health surveillance.

    • TS4 Monitoring of occupational radiation exposures: individual monitoring and exposure assessments for external and internal exposures; monitoring of the workplace; monitoring techniques; biological dosimetry; recording and reporting procedures; intercomparison programmes.

    • TS5 Occupational radiation protection in medicine: diagnostic radiology; interventional radiology; nuclear medicine and radiotherapy practices; biomedical research; dental and veterinary applications; exposures during waste management; lessons learned from accidents involving exposure of workers.

    • TS6 Occupational radiation protection in workplaces involving exposure to natural radiation: mining and milling; processing of mineral sands; workplaces with potentially high radon levels; oil and natural gas; hazards for air crew and frequent flyers.

    • TS7 Occupational radiation protection in industrial and research facilities: non-destructive testing; irradiation facilities for sterilization and polymerization; accelerators; use of gauges; tracers; well logging; other uses of sealed and unsealed sources; handling of disused sources; lessons learned from accidents involving exposure of workers.

    • TS8 Occupational radiation protection in nuclear facilities: nuclear power plants; research reactors; nuclear fuel fabrication plants; nuclear fuel reprocessing plants; radioactive waste management facilities; facilities under decommissioning; lessons learned from accidents involving exposure of workers.

    • TS9 Probability of causation of occupational harm attributable to radiation exposure: dose reconstruction techniques; compensation schemes; results of epidemiological studies on workers.



    Round table sessions will address the following questions:

    • RT 1 Is the co-operation between regulators, employers and workers achieving optimum occupational radiation protection? (To follow on from "Stakeholder" briefing session).

    • RT2 Has the continued improvement in radiation protection standards gone far enough in comparison with standards for other hazards? What should be the level of ambition? (to follow on from Topical Session 1).

    • RT3 Can control of occupational exposure to natural radiation be made compatible with controls of occupational exposure to artificial radiation? (to follow on from Topical Session 6).

    • RT4 What are the main problems in operational implementation of radiation protection standards? Consideration will be given to special compensation arrangements; female employees; split responsibilities between employers and licensees; different national regulations but free movement of workers (including contractors); values of in optimization (to follow Topical Sessions 3,5,7 and 8).

    • RT5 Is there a need for a major change in ICRP recommendations involving occupational exposure? Evolution or revolution? The role and utility of dose limits, collective dose and ALARA.


    Concise papers on issues falling within the scope of the Topical Sessions (see Section 5 above) may be submitted as contributions to the Conference. These papers will not be presented orally, but will be summarized by a Rapporteur (as indicated in Section 4 above) and included in a Compendium of Contributed Papers to be distributed free of charge to all participants upon registration. Questions relating to the contributed papers can be put at an appropriate topical session. Authors of contributed papers may, if they so wish, present the substance of their papers in the form of Posters, which will be exhibited in a Poster Area. It is expected that a least one author of each Contributed paper will attend the Conference. Guidelines for the preparation and submission of contributed papers and posters are given in the Appendix. (See Section 9 for Form for Submission of a Contributed Paper).

    The deadline for the receipt of contributed papers is 1 February 2002. Papers submitted after the deadline cannot be considered.


    The Proceedings of the Conference, to be published by the IAEA, will contain the welcoming addresses, the opening address by the President of the Conference, the keynote presentations, the Rapporteurs' reports, the Chairpersons' summaries, the Conference conclusions presented by the President of the Conference, and the records of the discussions. It will include a CD containing the Contributed papers. The Proceedings can be ordered, at a discounted price, during the Conference.


    For participation in the meeting the Participation Form must be completed and sent to one of the competent official authorities (Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Health or the national atomic energy authority).

    For contributed papers the Form for Submission of a Contributed Paper must be completed and sent along with the contributed paper itself to one of the competent official authorities listed above. Additionally, Conference papers may be sent directly to [email protected]

    For participants wishing to receive financial assistance for travel to the conference (see Section 11), the Grant Application Form must be completed and sent to one of the competent official authorities listed above.

    The deadline for receipt by the IAEA through official channels of all applicable forms is 1 February 2002.

    Subsequent communications should be sent to the Scientific Secretary of the Conference when they concern technical matters and to the Conference Organizer when they concern administrative matters (see Section 16 for addresses, etc.).


    The Conference will take place at the Headquarters of the ILO in Geneva, Switzerland, from 26 to 30 August 2002. The Opening Session will start at 09:30 hours on Monday, 26 August 2002.

    The working language of the Conference will be English.


    There is no registration fee for participation in the Conference.

    The costs of organizing the Conference will be borne by the sponsoring Organizations and the host Government.

    As a general rule, the IAEA does not pay the cost of attendance, i.e. travel and living expenses, of participants. However, limited funds are available to help meet the cost of attendance of qualified specialists mainly from Member States eligible to receive technical assistance under the IAEA's Technical Co-operation Programme. Generally, not more than one grant will be awarded to any one country.

    If governments wish to apply for a grant on behalf of one of their specialists, they should address specific requests to the International Atomic Energy Agency to this effect. Governments should ensure that applications for grants:

    1. be submitted by 1 February 2002.
    2. be accompanied by a duly completed and signed Grant Application Form.

    Applications which do not comply with the conditions mentioned under (a) and (b) cannot be considered.

    The grants awarded will be in the form of lump sums usually covering only part of the cost of attendance.


    Information on accommodation, together with general information, will be sent to all officially designated participants approximately three months prior to the Conference.

  13. VISAS

    Participants who require a visa in order to enter Switzerland should submit the necessary application to the nearest diplomatic or consular representative of Switzerland as soon as possible.



    Deadline for receipt of participation form: 1 February 2002
    Deadline for submission of contributed papers: 1 February 2002
    Deadline for application for grants (if applicable): 1 February 2002


    The Conference is supported by the following three bodies:

    • A Conference Secretariat
    • A Programme Committee
    • An Organizing Committee



    Administrative matters -- Conference Organizer, IAEA

    Ms. Evelyne Janisch
    Division of Conference and Document Services
    Conference Service Section
    International Atomic Energy Agency
    Vienna International Centre
    P.O. Box 100, Wagramer Strasse 5
    A-1400 Vienna, Austria, Europe
    Telephone No.: +43-1-2600-21312
    Telefax No.: +43 1-26007
    Email: [email protected]

    Technical matters and paper submission -- Scientific Secretaries, IAEA

    Ms. Monica Gustafsson
    Mr. Khammar Mrabit
    Division of Radiation and Waste Safety
    International Atomic Energy Agency
    P.O. Box 100
    Wagramer Strasse 5
    A-1400 Vienna, Austria
    Telephone: +43-1-2600-22725 or -22722
    Telefax No.: +43-1-26007
    Email: [email protected], [email protected]

    Email address for paper submission: [email protected]


    The Conference Webpage address is:

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