Report number 162, Self Assessment of Radiation Safety Programs, is the latest report published in March 2010 by the NCRP (National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurement). It is an informative report for all of us and is particularly relevant for all physicists who are also responsible for the radiation safety program at their institution. Self Assessment of Radiation Safety Programs is defined by the NCRP as:
“Self assessment is a process by which an organization evaluates its compliance with external regulatory requirement and commitments and with its own internal radiation safety program requirements. It is a proactive component of an effective management plan for a radiation safety program. This report will cover the types of assessments, their purposes, and the processes for conducting them. It will discuss the frequency, the program areas to be assessed, the documentation, and the follow-up of assessments. The report will also discuss guidance for the scheduling and resolution of corrective actions.”
The report provides information and guidance on the following topics:
– Definition and purposes of self assessment;
– Types of self assessment (i.e., performance based, risk based, compliance based, task, process and program level, formal and informal);
– Responsibilities for establishing self-assessment programs including upper management, line management, the radiation safety committee, radiation safety program personnel including the radiation safety manager or radiation safety officer, and the workers;
-Self assessment program planning for an institution, including determining the purpose and type of self assessment, selecting the program elements to be assessed, allocating the necessary resources, and developing a self assessment program review plan;
– Qualification and selection of individuals performing the self assessments;
– Self assessment methods and techniques including evaluation of radiation safety program survey and monitoring results, workplace observations, interviews, document reviews, checklists, review of metrics, and questionnaires;
– Types of deficiencies that can be identified in the self-assessment process, ranging from the minor ones that are most likely to be found to those that are more serious;
– Identification of noteworthy practices;
– Planning an individual self assessment including the program elements to be assessed, the schedule for performing the self assessment, and the types of self assessment to be used;
– Conducting the self assessment including the entrance meeting, performing the assessment activities, daily team conferences, upper management briefings, exit meeting, and documentation;
– Documenting the self assessment including writing reports, report approval, communicating the results, and legal consideration; and
– Developing corrective-action plans including tracking and resolution of corrective actions and reviewing the effectiveness of the corrective-action program.
In a recent newsletter of the Health Physics Society (Volume XXXVIII Number 4 April 2010), it was noted that David Myers, an HPS member, worked on NCRP Report 162. In the newsletter, he provides more information about the latest report and its importance to the radiation safety programs of all institutions. The report can be purchased through the NCRP web site for $50 or $40 in pdf format.