Sources of radiation at work

Last updated: 04 Mar 2020

In many cases, work with equipment or substances that emit radiation will not have any effect on your health. It is radiation emitted at high levels that is most dangerous, but most applications do not emit radiation with sufficient energy to be harmful.

Exposure to ionising radiation is most likely to occur in manufacturing, construction, engineering, non-destructive testing, medical and dental sectors, education and research establishments and the nuclear industry.

Sectors most likely to see workers exposed to high levels of EMF include healthcare, energy distribution, engineering, broadcasting, transport and telecommunications.

There are a range of industries that use UV applications, including metalworking, pharmaceutical and research, printing, motor vehicle repairs, and food and drink.

Radon, a type of naturally occurring ionising radiation that is produced by uranium in rocks, is a gas that can seep out of the ground and collect in buildings, mainly underground spaces such as basements. Exposure to high concentrations increases the risk of lung cancer. Radon is recognised to be the second largest cause of lung cancer after smoking.

Certain parts of the UK are more likely to be at risk, depending on the area’s geological formation. The government has produced a radon map so people can easily find out whether their home or workplace could be affected.

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