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Training – IRR17, IRMER17 and Dental CBCT

This article discusses radiation protection training and how to ensure the training meets the requirements of IRR17 and IRMER17.
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In this step we will look at the important subject of radiation protection training, focussing on what is required by IRR17 and IRMER17, what is recommended by the General Dental Council (GDC) and what is recommended in the Dental GNs.

Regulatory requirements

Both IRR17 and IRMER17 specify training requirements for staff working with X-ray equipment.

IRR17 requires that employers provide training for all staff working with X-ray equipment and to refresh that training at regular intervals. The training should cover:

List of 3 factors training should cover: - The risks to health created by ionising radiation in their workplace - General and specific procedures and precautions to enable safe working - The importance of complying with IRR17

IRR17 also requires the employer to:

  • Make sure that the radiation protection supervisor (RPS) is suitably trained for the role
  • Provide staff who are not directly involved in radiography with the information they need to work safely – these staff need to be made aware of any local arrangements, for example, the significance of any warning signs and/or warning lights

IRMER17 requires the employer to make sure that:

List of 2 factors IRMER17 requires: - All practitioners and operators are adequately trained for their role - All practitioners and operators undertake continuing education and training

Training meeting the requirements of IRR17 and IRMER17 is provided as part of the primary qualifications for dentists, hygienists and therapists. For refresher training and continuous professional development, it is usually possible to find a course that will cover the requirements of both sets of legislation.

Training recommendations

The General Dental Council (GDC) recommends that dentists and DCPs who carry out radiography should undertake at least five hours of verifiable CPD (continuing professional development) in radiography and radiation protection, in each five-year CPD cycle (with the exception of dental technicians, who may do five hours of CPD in materials and equipment, instead).

Members of the dental team require different levels of training depending on the duties they undertake. Training that will meet the requirements of legislation and guidance is shown in the table below.

Role Training required
Practitioner Degree or diploma relevant to scope of practice and five hours of verifiable CPD in radiation protection/radiology every five years
DCP carrying out radiography duties (e.g. positioning patient, selecting exposure settings) Degree/diploma relevant to scope of practice, or certificate in dental radiography and five hours of verifiable CPD in radiation protection/radiology every five years
DCP carrying out other operator duties (such as patient identification, film processing and reading CDR plates) Certificate in dental nursing or in-house training in relation to duties
DCP required only to ‘press the button’ Training on the use of the equipment and direct supervision by a qualified operator
Radiation protection supervisor Five hours of verifiable training in radiation protection, including the requirements of IRR17, every five years
CBCT – all IRMER duty holders 12 hours of level 1 (core) training (this can include the five hours verifiable CPD in radiation protection/radiology mentioned above)
CBCT – equipment operators 12 hours of level 2 (further) training in equipment operation
CBCT – practitioners who justify exposures and/or clinically evaluate images 12 hours of level 2 (further) training in justification and interpretation of images

The ‘radiation protection’ content of verifiable CPD courses should cover the subjects detailed in Table 3.3 of the Dental GNs. Update training will be required when panoramic, cephalometric or dental CBCT is newly introduced, digital imaging devices are used for the first time and when new techniques are employed.

Note that for staff involved in CBCT imaging, specific training is required as outlined above; because at present the necessary training is not provided as part of degree and diploma courses. Full details of the recommended training are given in section 3.10 and Appendix H of the Dental GNs. Refresher training should be provided and the Dental GNs suggest that as a minimum, about one of the recommended five hours of verifiable CPD in radiology and radiation protection should be specific to dental CBCT.

Training records

A record of all radiation safety training undertaken, including formal training and in-house briefings, should be kept. The records should be kept up to date and include the following information:

  • The title of the course or subject covered
  • The training provider
  • Attendee’s name
  • Date of training

It is recommended that these records are retained for a minimum of five years.

© UK Health Security Agency
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Dental Radiography: Radiation Protection in Dental Practice

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