ISRRT takes a prominent role at the IAEA Consultancy meeting on Strengthening Radiation Safety Culture in Medicine – 18th February to 20th February.

Stewart Whitley, Director of Professional Practice, represented ISRRT at this important meeting, which was held at the IAEA HQ, Vienna, Austria.
– 18th February to 20th February.

The purpose of the meeting was to develop a ‘train the trainer package’ addressing radiation safety culture traits. The workshop included several other professional organisations and three winners of the digital competition to develop presentations to support these traits.

Stewart presented the activities and initiatives that ISRRT was undertaking in promoting safety culture. He also presented a PPP relating to the ‘Personal Accountability trait’ being the first one to be presented the day.

At the meeting Stewart meet the winners of the digital competition who took as their topic the ‘Effective Safety Communication trait’. These were two radiographers from Greece who heard about the competition via the ISRRT website. Both Anastasia Apostolou and Rodanthi Karavekaki from Greece were worthy winners out of a large number of entries!

Consultancy Meeting participants on Strengthening Radiation Safety Culture in Medicine


Safety Culture is defined as the assembly of characteristics and attitudes in organizations and individuals which establishes that, as an overriding priority, protection and safety issues receive the attention warranted by their significance. Requirement 5 of the International BSS has guidelines on the importance of safety culture in all activities using radiation sources. The International Bonn Call for action item 8 calls for medical professional to Strengthen radiation safety culture in health care.

Medical uses of radiation are one of the most beneficial ways radiation is used to improve the quality of life of individuals and society.  But when used improperly it can lead to adverse risk to patients, workers and society. Strengthening radiation safety culture is discussed in meetings and literature but there is no practical training information targeted to improving radiation safety culture is medicine.

The Agency held a Technical Meeting to determine the best ways to address the issues of radiation protection and safety of patients where a weak safety culture was a contributing factor. This meeting held 1st-3rd October 2018, highlighted the need to support improving safety culture to assure that radiation protection and patient safety were a priority.

To accomplish this goal, information from the nuclear power, space, aviation and other high- risk (engineering) technologies were researched. This resulted in identifying 10 safety traits that are applicable to radiation in medicine. The training methodology for this initiative is a radiation protection case study for each trait followed by a facilitated discussion and concluding with a digital presentation.

Anastasia Apostolou and Rodanthi Karavekaki winners of the digital competition with Debbie Gilley responsible for the workshop, Radiation Protection Specialist with the International Atomic Energy Agency in the Division of Radiation, Transport and Waste Safety Radiation Protection of Patients Unit.

The digital presentations used for the training material were acquired through an online contest.  The contest launched in May 2019 allowed radiation professionals to participate in developing the training material and an opportunity to discuss safety culture within their facility. The contest was held in May 2019 and we received 107 abstracts.  Of the 107 abstracts, 88 were accepted for a digital presentation. Each three-minute presentation address improvements in one of the 10 safety traits. At the conclusion of the contest, we received 54 digital presentations.

These were evaluated in house by radiation protection of patient’s unit and 21 of these were submitted to external judges who determined the winners.

The top 3 winners participated in the consultancy meeting where they were presented with a small token of appreciation for their contribution.

The last 2 days of the consultancy consisted of a soft launch of the training material to international professional organizations, who will be instrumental in sharing the information with their members. During this process the draft training material was updated ready for the final publication.

Stewart Whitley, Director of Professional Practice

 Stewart Whitley, Director of Professional Practice, presenting the role of ISRRT in strengthening radiation safety culture in medicine.

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