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In Their Own Words… Hear From Participants at the Regional Workshop

Dr. Shengli Niu,
Senior Specialist on Occupational Health,
International Labour Office

“The ILO was founded to promote social justice as a contribution to universal lasting peace. Its mandate is to ensure everyone the right to earn a living in freedom, equity, security and dignity, in short, the right to Decent Work. Having a safe and healthy workplace is a basic human right. Respecting this human right is an obligation – as well as a condition -- for sustainable economic development. The protection of workers against radiation falls naturally within the scope of ILO’s programme of action on occupational safety and health which uses in a coordinated manner the various means of action available to the ILO to provide support and services to governments, employers’ and workers’ organizations in drawing up and implementing programmes for the improvement of working conditions and environment. The ILO creates international labour standards including standards on safety and health at work and has a unique system to supervise their application. The ILO Convention concerning the Protection of Workers against Ionizing Radiation (No. 115) and its accompanying Recommendation (No. 114) have been the only international legal instruments on radiation protection of workers. The ILO also has a number of Conventions and Recommendations on other topics in the field of safety and health at work. 
The ILO attaches importance on cooperation with IAEA and other international organizations and professional bodies on setting up international guidelines and standards on radiation safety and protection. Such a cooperation not only facilitates the implementation of the ILO Convention No. 115 on radiation protection by the ILO constituents but increase, at the national level, the synergy impacts of the relevant international policies on radiation safety and protection formulated by other sister organizations. 
The ILO expects the enterprises and workplaces to follow proper occupational safety and health rules and regulations including radiation safety and protection rules and regulations so as to avoid accidents, diseases and other problems at work.”

Dr. Çiğdem Yıldız, 
Course Director, Head of Health Physics Division,
Saraykoy Nuclear Research and Training Center, Ankara, Turkey 

“The workshop has served its main purposes by providing comprehensive information on GSR Part 3 and Safety Standards, enabling us to increase better understanding on the specific requirements related to occupational exposure in planned, emergency, existing exposure situations and the protection of workers in special cases. Since Turkey has decided to follow and implement IAEA Safety Standards and EU Directives, the workshop has direct impact on present status of ORP and on further improvements. In addition, technical service providers, regulatory body and end users from Turkey who participated the workshop find the chance to assess the international guide with respect to their own applications and management systems and identify their gaps, items that can be improved.

During the workshop, we had positive and extended interaction with international colleagues, find the chance to share knowledge and experiences. Especially the site visit to newly established SANAEM SSDL having a large range in terms of calibration/irradiation capacity with eight different systems including several gamma, X-rays, beta and neutron sources pointed out for both, our institute and representatives of participant countries, the potential for future projects and collaboration. This workshop has provided a good opportunity to introduce what we can offer and our intentions about partnering with other countries.”

Ms Isabelle Baustert, 
Workshop participant, Medical Physicist,
Ministry of Health, Republic of Cyprus 

What do you take from the Joint IAEA/ ILO Regional workshop on Occupational Radiation Protection?
“I gained a broader understanding of the concepts underlying the legal framework used in radiation protection. (classification of the exposure situations, graded approach, levels of control). Beyond the theoretical concepts, this workshop dealt with the details of organizing Radiation Protection as stated in the Safety Guidelines on Occupational Health (GSG-7). The guidelines were clearly explained during the workshop.
By presenting our national legislation during the course of the week, the experienced workshop organizers helped every participant identify possible limitations of the national legislations. Clarification on general misunderstandings of the Safety Guidelines were also given. 
During the group exercises, I had the opportunity to discuss with other workshop participants legislation and implementation of the legal framework. We highlighted good practice, discussed difficulties and shared ideas on organizing Occupational Radiation Protection and inspecting Radiation Protection. 
We identified that implementation cannot always keep up with regulation, in particular when cases are very few or require highly specialized expertise.”
How does it relate to your country’s work in this field?
“The legislation of the country is in line with the IAEA Basic Safety Standards. The legal framework exists. 
During the many discussions or group exercises with other workshop members from other countries we could highlight good practices but we also confirmed that some parts of the implementation is difficult to organize. 
It was nice to see representatives from many small countries. We face similar difficulties in the implementation and the organization of highly specialized legislation and all the required services.”
What is the long term development benefit?
“Understanding Radiation Protection leads to understanding the need for organized institutional Radiation Protection which in turn means putting an effort in implementing compliance at every level of your organisation.
Here are a few points that I would like to tackle back home: 
•    clarify the responsibilities in OPR at all levels in our institution.
•    implement good practices identified amongst the workshop participants. 
•    work with the local stakeholders to mediate issues that we have identified and suggests concepts that we have seen working well in other countries.
•    discuss the possibility of an ORPAS with the main stakeholders in the country.

Sibel Türkeş Yılmaz, 
Workshop participant, 
Turkish Atomic Energy Authority, Turkey

What does you take from the Joint IAEA/ ILO Regional workshop on Occupational Radiation Protection?
“First of all, I’ve to admit that this workshop provided an environment for discussion of not only theoretical rules but also philosophy of radiation protection.
I’ve enhanced my knowledge on general principles of the system of radiation protection, assessment of occupational exposures, monitoring of the workplace, worker’s health surveillance, the use of personnel protective equipment relevant to protection of workers against radiation. 
I had also a chance to learn recommendations and norms of the IAEA and ILO and their approach regarding to occupational exposure control mechanism.
Moreover, those kinds of occasions are very beneficial to exchange information, share experiences, learn from good practices and also find out gaps.”

How does it relate to your country’s work in this field? 
“The workshop outcomes will be useful to keep our regulatory activities, regarding working conditions and environment to existing occupational exposure control system in national level providing a safe and healthy working environment, in line with the IAEA and ILO policies.
One of the most important outcome of this event is that it provided us a better understanding to evaluate and assess the work we do on occupational radiation protection and monitoring exposed workers.”

What is the long term development benefit?
“By providing guidance in establishing the necessary radiation protection requirements and practices, the IAEA safety standards are the most valuable resource to achieve a comprehensive and effective national radiation safety programme and thereby reduce the potential for harm to people, workers or environment for all kind of radiation practices.”

Biljana Petrovic, 
Workshop participant, Professional collaborator for radiation control and dosimetry, 
Public Health Institute of Republic of Srpska, Bosnia and Herzegovina

What do you take from the Joint IAEA/ ILO Regional workshop on Occupational Radiation Protection?
“Occupational radiation protection is one of the crucial things. By using the main principals of radiation protection and respecting requirements defined in GSR Part 3, occupationally personnel they not only protect themselves from harmful effects of ionizing radiation but also providing protection to the general public and preventing possible accidents.
This workshop offered lessons in regard to requirements of GSR Part 3 with series of active discussions. Participants were stipulated to talk of legal requirements and problems and benefits with implementations of the topic requirement. 
The requirement on „Condition of Service“ was completely misunderstood by most of the participants, even myself. Having the ILO representative and active discussion on this topic made this requirement clear and set in place.
Working groups and real life situations provided check up if participants have understood the concepts of requirements. During these discussions I could notice different perspective of requirement understanding regarding occupational exposer weather the participant is coming from the regulatory body, TSO or whether they are end users.”

How does it relate to your country’s work in this field?
“Legal framework in the country exist. More or less (75% according to experts’ assessments) is in line with IAEA BSS.
Still, not all the legal requirements are implemented in practice. Exchanging the experiences with other participants how they have implemented certain difficulties will be of great help in suggestions to the local authorities how to overcome problems in implementation.”

What is the long term development benefit?
“Bosnia and Herzegovina has already requested ORPAS mission that was also one of the topics of the workshop. Report that will arise from this mission will be crucial and substantial for the further work on GSR Part 3 request implementation.
During the workshop, the final task of participants working groups was to identify strengths and weakness of their ORP framework and prepare ppt file. This file shall be used as a concept of long term development benefit in implementation of identified strengths.”

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