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Ionizing radiation can have a permanent impact on our bodies on an atomic level and can literally change our DNA. When this radiation comes in contact with cells, any of the following may happen:

  • The cell will get damaged but will repair itself
  • The radiation may pass through the cell without impacting it
  • The radiation can prevent the cell from reproducing or cause a mutation
  • The radiation can kill off the cell. This can be a concern if multiple cells start to die off in one organ such as the liver.

The latter effect can prove fatal if radiation exposure is not controlled in a timely manner. If a number of cells die, it causes an inflammatory response and the body starts discarding the dead cells before repair work. This is how a sunburn works as well. It’s a sort of radiation sickness which can cause skin cancer with time.

Our body has holes in its defenses so cells with damaged DNA can pass through without undergoing repairs. These may do no harm unless the damage affects how much they grow. In such cases, the damaged DNA can cause the cells to turn cancerous and form tumors. That’s why prolonged exposure to the sun can increase chances of cancer.

Here’s how it works. If a cell is exposed to prolonged ionizing radiation, the entire length of its DNA experiences double stranded breaks. If the wrong piece of DNA is attached back during repairs, it can leave out a crucial piece. This can eliminate a number of important genes or it can change where a gene is located in the DNA. Leukemia is one of the most common cancers that can manifest from this type of mutation.

How a collaborative workplace can help

Workers who are exposed to radiation in the workplace can develop the aforementioned DNA mutations which can lead to cancer. It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure that they are protected from exposure.

If two workers are working together on the same tasks, they should be encouraged to collaborate to prevent safety violations. However, this does not mean employers should not look after the health and safety of their employees. If workers are encouraged not only to look after themselves but also their colleagues, exposure incidents can be reduced significantly.

 The procedures for this collaboration should be set by an authority who is competent enough to manage safety in the workplace. In addition, all of the parties involved should be trained to cooperate with safety personnel to ensure organization-wide compliance. The arrangements should include certain elements.

For instance, a senior manager should be appointed to collaborate with other employers whose team are involved with different installations in the organization. The point of this collaboration is to acquire information regarding worker radiation doses as they work on different installments in the workplace. It will also let employers know the dose equivalent of a year for each worker as they work on their installations.

Environmental Safety

Learn all you need to know about industrial hygiene, the harmful effects of radiation and environmental compliance by signing up for the Environmental Safety course by

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