The safety standards and guides developed by the Section are based on contemporary scientific knowledge and are aimed at protecting workers, patients and the public from all types of exposure to natural or artificial radiation.
The guidance materials prepared by the Section include such documents as the IAEA General Safety Requirements Part 3 on Radiation Protection and Safety of Radiation Sources: International Basic Safety Standards (BSS) and associated safety guides, which comprise basic requirements and practical guidance for radiation protection of the public, workers and patients.
Medical uses of radiation constitute more than 95 per cent of the radiation from man-made sources the global population is exposed to. For this reason, radiation protection of patients is an important focus of the Section’s activities.
Occupational radiation protection is another field of interest. The development of the nuclear industry and the more widespread application of radiation and nuclear technologies have led to a steady increase in the number of workers who might be exposed to radiation in the course of their work. The Section maintains a programme that focuses specifically on occupational radiation protection. It promotes an internationally harmonized approach to the issue and develops safety standards and guidelines to reduce radiation exposure at the workplace.
Maintaining information and reporting systems for Member States
The Section is responsible for providing IAEA Member States with reporting systems on radiological procedures. These include the SAFety in RADiological procedures (SAFRAD), a voluntary reporting system in radiation safety in interventional procedures; SAFety in Radiation ONcology (SAFRON), an integrated voluntary reporting and learning system of radiotherapy incidents and near misses; and the Information System on Occupational Exposure in Medicine, Industry and Research (ISEMIR).
Member States, health professionals and patients can obtain more information on the Radiation Protection of Patients (RPOP) website and pages dedicated to the Occupational Radiation Protection Networks (ORPNET).
The Section also carries out ORPAS, an independent appraisal service aimed at promoting, assessing, optimizing and evaluating the effectiveness of occupational radiation protection in the IAEA Member States.