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You are here: Home Legislation European Directives Exposure to physical hazards OSH directives Directive 96/29/Euratom - ionizing radiation

Directive 96/29/Euratom - ionizing radiation

of 13 May 1996 laying down basic safety standards for the protection of the health of workers and the general public against the dangers arising from ionizing radiation.

Objective

The aim of the Directive is to establish uniform basic safety standards to protect the health of workers and the general public against the dangers of ionising radiation. The Directive shall apply to all practices which involve a risk from ionising radiation emanating from an artificial source or from a natural radiation source in cases where natural radionucliodes are processed in view of their radioactive, fissile or fertile properties.

It also applies to further work activities which involve the presence of natural radiation sources and lead to a significant increase in the exposure of workers or members of the public.

Definitions

The Directive gives legal definitions for terms, such as radioacitive decay rates (activity), dose, exposure, ionising radiation, radiation source, radioactive contamination etc.

Contents

The Directive establishes the principle that all practices that involve a risk from ionising radiation have to be reported to and authorised by the Member States. Exceptions from this principle are defined by the Directive.

With regards to the protection of workers, the Directive defines dose limits for workers exposed to ionising radiation. The effective dose is limited to 100 mSv over a period of five consecutive years and must not exceed 50 mSv in one year. Young workers (under 18 years) may not be exposed to ionising radiation at work.

Pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers may not be assigned to work involving a significant risk of bodily radioactive contamination as soon as they inform the undertaking of their condition.

The limit for effective dose for apprentices aged between 16 and 18 years and for students aged between 16 and 18 years who, in the course of their studies, are obliged to use sources shall be 6 mSv per year.

The employer is responsible for radiation protection: Arrangements shall be made as regards all workplaces where there is a possibility of exposure to ionising radiation in excess of 1 mSv per year on an equivalent dose of one-tenth of the dose limits for the lens of the eyes, skin and extremities.

The undertaking shall be responsible for assessing and implementing arrangements for the radiological protection of exposed workers. Member States shall require the undertaking to consult the qualified experts or the approved occupational health services on the examination and testing of protective devices and measuring instruments.

Radiological surveillance of the working environment and of the individual worker has to be carried out in accordance to the provisons made in Art. 24-29 of the Directive.

Member States shall require the undertaking to inform exposed workers, apprentices and students who, in the course of their studies, are obliged to use sources on the health risks involved in their work and in the case of women, the need for early declaration of pregnancy in view of the risks of exposure for the child to be born and the risk of contaminating the nursing infant in case of bodily radioactive contamination.

Member States shall require the undertaking to arrange for relevant training in the field of radiation protection to be given to exposed workers, apprentices and students.

Exposed workers must benefit from medical surveillance services as defined in Art. 30-37 of the Directive. Special medical surveillance shall be provided in each case where one of the dose limits has been exceeded.

In addition to the medical surveillance of exposed workers, provision shall be made for any further action in relation to the health protection of the exposed individual considered necessary by the approved medical practitioner or approved occupational health services such as further examinations, decontamination measures or urgent remedial treatment.

Member States shall establish a system of inspection to enforce the provisions introduced in compliance with this Directive and to initiate surveillance and intervention measures.

Member States shall require that workers have access at their request to the results of their individual monitoring, including the results of measurements which may have been used in estimating them, or of the assessments of their doses made as a result of workplace measurements.

Annexes

Annex I: Criteria to be considered for the application of Art. 3 (Reporting)

Annex II A: Definition of terms used in this Annex

Annex II B: Values of radiation weighting factor

Annex II C: Relationship between the quality factor and unrestricted linear energy transfer

Annex II D: Values of tissue weighting factor

Annex II E: Operational quantities for external radiation

Annex III 

Read the full text of the consolidated version of the Directive (including later amendments)

Read the full text of the original Directive (without amendments)

National laws implementing this Directive

Further information on this topic

See the Communication from the Commission concerning the implementation of Council Directive 96/29/Euratom of 13 May 1996 laying down basic safety standards for the protection of the health of the workers and the general public against the dangers arising from ionising radiation