As a radiologist, you help many people find out if they've broken bones or if they have other problems in their bodies. Unfortunately, X-rays themselves are incredibly dangerous if handled inappropriately. Those who work with X-ray technology have a higher risk of certain kinds of cancers, for example.
While there are safety techniques that reduce the risk to those working in radiology, there's no way to completely eliminate radiation exposure. On top of that, other risks, like the risk of repetitive-motion injuries or back or neck injuries, are still possible.
X-ray technicians benefit from a few industry regulations. These are three that you should know about.
1. X-ray exposure is monitored in the short- and long-term
One thing that helps prevent injuries from exposure to X-rays is understanding how much exposure an employee has. With long-term radiation levels kept low, the risk of cancers stays much lower than if a worker faces higher exposure levels over a long period of time.
2. Protective equipment limits exposure
With the right protective equipment, it's possible to limit the number of X-rays a person absorbs into his or her body. Checking equipment for problems is now mandatory. Additionally, the modern equipment protects areas of the body where the risk for cancer is most prominent. Here's an example. When you go into a doctor's office to have an X-ray performed on your arm, you may be asked to wear a chest guard. This guard protects your organs and body against the radiation from the X-ray machine, so you absorb fewer rays.
3. Ergonomics matter in the field
Another issue some face working as radiologists is the risk of lifting too much weight. Some patients may need assistance when turning over or standing up, which has the potential to strain a radiologist's back or neck. Additionally, some X-ray machines have long mechanical arms that swing into position. If the arm is difficult to move, it poses an ergonomic threat to the employee.
Modern machinery includes items like adjustable beds with electronic controls and X-ray machines with mechanical arms that are easier to manipulate. Reducing the stress of working with patients and the machinery helps lower the risk of an injury overall.
There is still a risk of developing cancer or getting hurt as a radiologist. If you're hurt, workers' compensation coverage should become available to you. This compensation helps you get the medical care you need while helping replace lost wages and providing you with other benefits.