FAQ: RPS Training

Frequently Asked Questions

How is an RPS trained?

An RPS should receive appropriate training under regulation 15 of the Ionising Radiations Regulations 2017 (see below). This is in order that the work can be supervised competently. Good RPS training courses reflect the nature and complexity of the work being done. Training is usually carried out by a certificated Radiation Protection Adviser. The RPA can be either in-house or an independent RPS course tutor (an example here).
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What are Local Rules?

Local Rules set out the arrangements for restricting exposure in a particular area, usually radiologically designated areas. The RPS is responsible for helping to ensure that Local Rules are followed in each area. Local Rules can vary considerably in detail and format, depending on the complexity of the work with ionising radiation. Local rules can include instructions, booklets or circulars, but should always contain certain key information.
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What is the Key Information or Essential Content of the Local Rules?

1. The dose investigation level specified for the purposes of regulation 9(8);
2. Identification or summary of any contingency arrangements indicating the reasonably foreseeable accidents to which they relate (regulation 13(2));
3. The name(s) of the appointed RPS(s) (regulation 18(5));
4. The identification and description of the area covered, with details of its designation (regulation 19(1));
5. A summary of the working instructions appropriate to the radiological risk associated with the source and operations involved, including the written arrangements relating to non-classified persons entering or working in controlled areas (regulation 19(3));
6. where an employer has detailed written working instructions contained within operations manuals or work protocols, it will usually be sufficient for the local rules to refer to the relevant sections of these documents. However, the employer must make sure the way in which these are
summarised in local rules is adequate for the purposes of regulation 18.

What is IRR17?

IRR17 is shorthand for the Ionising Radiations Regulations 2017. It sets out the requirements for ensuring the safety of individuals who may be exposed to ionising radiation at work (e.g. to radioactive materials or radiation generators). The regulations are enforced by the Health and Safety Executive. The RPS is appointed under these regulations, which also specify that anyone appointed to the role of Radiation Protection Supervisor must be trained (see above).

What makes a good RPS?

IRR17 states that a suitable RPS should:
1. Understand the requirements of the Regulations and local rules relevant to the work with ionising radiation;
2. Command sufficient authority from the people doing the work to allow them to supervise the radiation protection aspects of that work;
3. Understand the necessary precautions to be taken and the extent to which these precautions will restrict exposures; and
4. Know what to do in an emergency.

Of course, certain other qualities are also important such as effective communication and respectful co-operation.

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