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Section H

Pregnant Staff

 

Regulation 8(5) places duties on Employers to protect Employees including those of child bearing age, those who are pregnant and those who have returned to work who may still be breastfeeding. It is the responsibility of the Employee to notify the Employer (e.g. the radiography manager) of a confirmed pregnancy and this should be done in writing as soon as possible (Regulation 14(c). Upon notification to the Employer of a pregnancy the dose to the fetus should not exceed 1mSv during the remainder of the pregnancy (Regulation 8(5) and to ensure this the pregnant Employee should be monitored monthly. Further useful information is available on pages 40 and 60 of L121 (HSE, 2000).

SCoR Guidance
In certain circumstances, the pregnant Employee could also wear a direct reading device (either an electronic dose-meter or pocket ionisation chamber) to allow an immediate indication of dose received – this way there is a rapid indication that the dose received will not exceed 1mSv
Under Regulation 7 there must be a prior risk assessment (PRA) undertaken for any “risky” procedures involving Employees who are pregnant or breastfeeding – risky procedures (notwithstanding those not relating to radiation dose) may be defined as high dose fluoroscopy theatre work and unsealed radio-nuclides. If the conclusions of that PRA indicates that some sort of action is required (e.g. that the risk of the Employee receiving more that 1mSv for the rest of the pregnancy cannot be avoided) then the Employer must take action by, for example, offering the Employee alternative work within the dept
.

Further information on pregnancy issues for staff

- The Health and Safety Executive have produced a useful guidance booklet for pregnant Employees entitled “Working safely with ionising radiation: Guidelines for expectant or breastfeeding mothers” - http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg334.pdf

- A useful SCoR publication is “Health and Safety and Pregnancy – Guidance for health and safety representatives and members” (2007) – pages 12-15.

- The publication entitled “Pregnancy and  work in Diagnostic Imaging” from 
the British Institute of Radiology (to which SCoR had input) is available at https://www.sor.org/learning/document-library?title=pregnancy+work

- There is a very useful PowerPoint presentation relating to ionising radiation and  pregnancy (for staff and patients) on the ICRP website – available at:.www.icrp.org/docs/ICRP_84_Pregnancy_s.pps

Several radiographers have reported fertility difficulties to SCoR and have suggested that working with ionising radiation may be a causal factor. SCoR understands the anxieties surrounding this topic but are not in a position to support this hypothesis as there is presently no evidence to support this theory.

For those concerned about this topic, further reading is advised.

 

  • Draper GJ, Little MP, Sorahan T, Kinlen LJ, Bunch KJ, Conquest AJ, Kendall GM, Kneale GW, Lancashire RJ, Muirhead CR, O'Connor CM, Vincent TJ., Cancer in the offspring of radiation workers: a record linkage study. British Journal of Cancer (1997) Nov 8;315(7117):1181 Available for free download at   www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?itool=abstractplus&db=pubmed&cmd=...

 

  • Bunch KJ, Muirhead CR, Draper GJ, Hunter N, Kendall GM, O’Hagan JA, Phillipson MA, Vincent TJ, Zhang W. Cancer in the offspring of female radiation workers: a record linkage study.  British Journal of Cancer (2009), Volume 100, Issue 1, pages 213-218. Available free of charge for download at http://www.nature.com/bjc/journal/v100/n1/index.html#Epidemiology  

 

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