5 Reasons Why You Should Use Lead Apron Storage Racks

Lead Apron Storage

Improper storage of your lead apron can reduce the attenuating qualities of the apron and ultimately reduce the level of radiation protection your apron provides. Lead apron storage racks come in a variety of styles and configurations to meet the specific needs of your medical facility.

Protection From Radiation Exposure

Lead aprons are used in medical facilities to protect workers and patients from x-ray radiation exposure from diagnostic radiology procedures. Lead aprons are protective garments that have been designed to shield the body from the harmful effects of ionizing radiation during medical imaging procedures.

“As is the case with many protective garments, it is important to remember that a lead apron is only effective when it is worn properly, matched with the appropriate radiation energy and is used in a safe and regularly inspected environment.” – Stanford’s Radiation Protection Guidance for Hospital Staff¹ 

Lead Apron Integrity Check

Medical personnel who are required to wear lead aprons or other related radiation protection devices should visually inspect these protective garments prior to each use for obvious signs of damage such rips and tears, sagging lead, and cracks in the lead lining.

Not sure if a lead apron rack is necessary?

1.  To ensure that you are properly protected. When a lead apron hasn’t been stored properly, you could be putting yourself at risk for increased exposure to ionizing radiation. Small cracks and holes can develop in the lead lining that may not be visible on the exterior fabric of the lead apron.

“Lead aprons should be checked fluoroscopically at least on an annual basis for their shielding integrity².” -Radiology Compliance Branch (Radiation Protection Section), NC Department of Health and Human Services

2.  To protect your radiation protection investment. Properly storing your lead aprons will extend the useful life of the apron by helping prevent damage to the lead lining and the exterior fabric of the lead apron. Aprons should never be folded or creased. Lead aprons should be hung up by the shoulder(s) or on an approved apron hanger. Aprons should not be stored on a flat surface. Even incorrect storage for a short time can result in damage that is not visible to the naked eye.

3. To improve the organization of lead aprons. Managing lead aprons is one task that the imaging director has to cross off their to-do list, although it is probably not at the top of their list. Lead aprons play a vital role in protecting physicians, imaging staff, and patients from unnecessary exposure to ionizing radiation during diagnostic imaging procedures. Properly organizing your aprons will simplify the tracking process and will make State or Joint Commission inspections easier.

4. To help improve efficiency. Having a centralized location to properly store lead aprons will keep them safe and easily accessible the next time they are needed. Properly managing lead aprons can be a time-consuming task, utilizing an appropriate lead apron storage rack can help reduce time spent tracking aprons in the medical facility. As departments grow, it is important to have an apron storage process in place to keep aprons from getting mixed between departments.

5. To help reduce the occurrence of missing aprons. Keeping track of aprons can be difficult, especially when physicians and imaging staff spend time at multiple facilities. Lead apron racks make storage easier and help reduce the chance of lead aprons getting moved between departments and other medical facilities.

Example of A Wall Mounted Apron Rack

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Stay Neat And Organized

Maintaining a neat, uncluttered imaging environment is important in detail orientated medical fields. Lead apron racks allow your facility to provide medical staff with a well-organized treatment facility and workspace. When the necessary equipment is readily available on an x-ray apron rack in a centralized location, X-ray procedures will be completed efficiently and effectively.

 

5 Ways To Minimize Your Occupational Radiation Exposure

Minimizing Occupational Exposure

“The ideal dose is the least amount of radiation possible to produce an acceptable image.”

1. Time

Time is one of the three basic safety measures to reduce external radiation exposure. It is important for healthcare personnel to limit the amount of time spent in close proximity to the radiation source when exposure to the radiation source is possible. Reducing the time of an exposure reduces the effective dose (radiation) proportionally. Consequently, the less time you are around the equipment, the smaller your exposure will be.

2. Notification by Radiation Equipment Operator

Before any treatment or procedure, it is the responsibility of the trained and certified radiation equipment operator to notify healthcare personnel in the x-ray or treatment room prior to the activation of radiation producing equipment (RPE).

Any piece of equipment in which x-rays are produced electrically are classified as radiation producing equipment or RPE. These tools are used in a variety of medical applications including radiography, mammography, computed tomography, and fluoroscopy.

3. Fluoroscopic Procedures

Healthcare personnel performing fluoroscopic procedures must ensure that the patient is kept as close as possible to the image intensifier side of the fluoroscopic unit and away from the tube side of the unit. All healthcare personnel involved in the fluoroscopic procedure must stand on the image intensifier side of the fluoroscopic unit, whenever possible, to reduce the radiation exposure. Standing on the the same side as the image intensifier radiation intensity is decreased.

4. Avoid Direct Beam Exposure

Healthcare personnel assisting with radiological procedures must avoid holding the patient manually during a radiographic study due to the risk of direct beam exposure.  Any individual holding or supporting a person during radiation exposure should wear protective gloves and apron with a minimum of 0.25 millimeters lead equivalent. Under no circumstances should individuals holding or supporting a person’s part of their body be directly in the primary beam. Healthcare personnel must avoid exposing any body parts to direct x-ray beam exposure.

5. Utilize Shielding

Whenever possible, appropriate shielding should be used to provide attenuation of the radiation being delivered to the healthcare personnel who are potentially exposed. Healthcare personnel must keep all body parts out of the direct x-ray beam. There are a variety of shielding options available and may include, but are not limited to:

Specific Shielding Applications

Healthcare personnel who may have to stand with their backs exposed to the radiation beam must wear wrap-around aprons to decrease the risk of radiation exposure.

Bone and Bone Marrow Protection

When healthcare personnel are in close proximity to the radiation beam they should wear an appropriate lead or lead equivalent apron of sufficient length to shield the upper legs and protect the long bones and bone marrow from increased doses of radiation.

Thyroid Protection 

Healthcare personnel must wear a thyroid collar to protect the thyroid whenever the likelihood of the procedure places them at a higher risk of increased exposure.

Female Healthcare Personnel 

Female healthcare personnel must protect their breasts from radiation exposure by utilizing an apron that completely covers the area.

Eye protection

Healthcare personnel must shield the lens of the eye by using leaded eyeglasses with wrap-around side shields or leaded face shields to reduce scatter radiation when it is anticipated that increased fluoroscopic time may be necessary.

Limiting Radiation Exposure 

Reducing radiological exposure in healthcare settings is important for both occupational workers as well as patients. The following guidelines are based on the radiation safety principles of time, distance, and shielding. By following these guidelines, you can reduce your occupational exposure to radiation.

 

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Note: This information included in this post is intended for general reference information only. The information provided is not a substitute for professional advice and should not be relied upon in the absence of such professional advice.

X-Ray Protective Apron Care: 9 Do’s And Don’ts

Proper X-Ray Protective Apron Care and Use

X-ray aprons serve a very specific purpose, to protect and shield you from the potentially harmful effects of ionizing radiation. Shielding, one of the three concepts of basic radiation safety, should always be used when the use of time and distance principles are not possible.

Protective x-ray aprons constructed of lead or a non-lead equivalent are designed to protect the radiosensitive areas of the body when it is necessary for the healthcare worker to be near the source of radiation. Typically, x-ray aprons will offer frontal protection of 0.5 mm lead equivalency. In some instances, wrap-around x-ray aprons are required when medical personnel will have their backs exposed to the radiation source.

By learning the proper way to maintain and care for your x-ray apron, you will ensure that you are properly protected and you will extend the life of the apron. Below are the four do’s and the five don’ts of proper x-ray apron care. After reading this post, you will know how to keep your x-ray apron looking good while also keeping yourself protected against the harmful effects of ionizing radiation.

X-Ray Protective Apron Do’s 

1. Inspect and Check Apron For Defects, Cracks, Creases, and Perforations 

Place the x-ray apron on a flat surface and visually check all the seams as well as the outer and inner covers of x-ray apron for any visible damage. Next, check the belts and fastening devices to confirm that they are in good condition. Lastly, inspect the surface of the apron with your hands to locate any potential lumps, cracks, sagging or separation from the apron seams. If the apron condition appears to be suspect, it should be inspected radiographically. “Rejecting an apron depends on the location, area size and number of flaws. It is best to keep the number of flaws to a minimum¹.”

Note: It is recommended that you follow the manufacturer’s recommendations and/or the state regulations regarding the proper care and use of lead protective equipment. 

2. Clean Regularly

X-ray Aprons should be cleaned daily and deodorized by scrubbing with a soft bristle brush, using cold water and a mild detergent. Completely remove cleaning residue by thoroughly rinsing with clean, cold water.

Apron Cleaning Tips

To ensure x-ray aprons are not damaged while cleaning, follow these helpful tips:

  • Never use products that contain bleach.
  • Do not soak or submerge x-ray apron in water.
  • Do not machine launder, autoclave or dry-clean.
  • Once cleaning is complete, if possible, hang the apron on the designated apron wall rack to air dry.

3. Properly Store X-Ray Aprons

The x-ray apron manufacturer’s recommendation regarding the proper handling and storage of the apron must be strictly observed. When not in use x-ray aprons must be stored on hangers to prevent cracks in the protective lead. If possible, do not store the x-ray apron on a flat surface. Aprons should be hung by the shoulder or on an approved apron hanger. Aprons should never be folded or creased, to avoid damaging the lead. “Cracks in the lead lining can develop at the fold, reducing the useful life of the apron¹.” Hook and loop fasteners must be secured properly to avoid snagging or tearing of fabric, always store apron with fasteners completely secured.

4.  Dispose Of Lead Aprons Properly

X-ray protective aprons that contain lead cannot be disposed of as municipal solid waste. Consequently, they must be disposed of as hazardous waste or recycled. The Environmental Protection Agency encourages recycling and reuse rather than disposal. According to the EPA, if the lead shield or apron can be reused by another business for its intended purpose then it remains a product, therefore it is not classified as waste or hazardous waste. Recycling the lead apron is the preferred method since it keeps the lead out of the landfill and extends the useful life of the lead apron. When recycling is not an option, you can contact a disposal service to properly dispose of the lead material.

X-Ray Protective Apron Don’ts 

5. Sit While Wearing Your Apron

Unless the x-ray apron has been designed specifically for seated procedures, you will want to avoid sitting while wearing your apron. Cracks in the lead lining can develop while wearing the apron if seated. Also, you will want to avoid sitting on the apron for the same reason.

6. Expose Apron To Extreme Temperatures 

To prevent damage to the apron, you will want to avoid exposing your x-ray apron to extreme hot or cold temperatures or to direct sunlight.

7. Lean Against Pointed Objects or Sharp Edges

Avoid storing sharp objects in the pockets. X-ray aprons can become damaged while leaning up against sharp or pointed objects, creating perforations in the lead lining and reducing the attenuating qualities of the lead.

8. Store Aprons Over Chair Backs or Equipment

Laying aprons over a chair back or piece of equipment can create creases in the lead lining and can reduce the useful life of the apron.

9. Fold Aprons

To prevent damage to the lead lining, avoid folding, wadding or creasing your x-ray apron.

Ensure Reliable Performance 

To ensure safe performance, as well as keeping your x-ray apron looking good for years to come, we strongly recommend that each x-ray protective apron is thoroughly inspected upon receipt and at regular intervals and properly stored when not in use.

X-ray aprons should be evaluated every 18-24 months to determine if replacement is needed, depending on the amount of usage and general wear and tear.  If you found this post helpful, please feel free to share this post or our SlideShare presentation with your colleagues.

 

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Whiteboard Wednesday: Why Accidents Happen In The Laboratory

Today on Whiteboard Wednesday we talk about why accidents happen in the laboratory! As we know from last week’s Whiteboard Wednesday, lab accidents can easily take place in just about any laboratory setting.

Watch our Whiteboard Wednesday video below to find out ways to prevent laboratory accidents.

Whiteboard Wednesday: Improve Your Lab’s Safety With Test Tube Racks

This week on Whiteboard Wednesday we discuss ways to help improve your laboratory’s safety with test tube racks. Chaotic laboratories are a nightmare for lab employees and more importantly can be a major safety hazard! Each year, untidy laboratory work spaces contribute to over 10,000 lab accidents. Fortunately, keeping your lab organized and well kept can prevent many of these accidents. Test tube racks are an excellent tool to use for improving your lab safety.

A few of our favorite test tube rack designs include:

  • Interlocking test tube racks
  • Stack-able test tube racks
  • Plastic test tube racks

Featured Product: Apron Carry Bag

Today’s featured product is the apron carry bag, perfect for the rad tech on the go! This carry bag holds protective apparel, such as lead aprons, lead skirts and lead vests.

Features

  • Conveniently holds and protects your protective apparel
  • Its tube shape design allows for apron to be wrapped around a sturdy cardboard tube, while keeping it safe and secure
  • Includes cardboard tube, carrying handle and shoulder strap
  • Holds one apron
  • Size: 8″ Diameter x 29″ L
  • Latex Free

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Featured Product: Wiley-X Curve Radiation Glasses

Our featured product today is the popular Wiley-X Curve Radiation Glasses. These black radiation glasses are ideal for use in radiology departments, interventional radiology procedures, x-ray exams, etc.

With a fashionable, classic design these lead glasses provide both style and safety! This frame offers a removable facial cavity seal which keeps splashes, dust and debris from getting into your eyes. It’s important to wear radiation glasses when radiation is present to protect eyes from possible injuries.

 Features:

  • 0.75mm lead equivalency Schott SF-6 HT radiation safety glass lenses
  • Frame Type: Full frame
  • Frame Material: Plastic
  • Frame Shapes: Wrap

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Any questions on today’s featured product? Let us know below!

Featured Product: FlexHold Quad Universal Glove/Mask Box Holder

Looking for a glove box holder that can hold different sized boxes? The FlexHold Quad Glove/Mask Box Holder was designed to hold various sized and types of PPE supplies. Many glove box dispensers and holders in the industry can only accommodate certain sized boxes, but this unique design can hold various sizes making it easier to purchase glove and mask boxes.

The adjustable holding points give you the true flexibility to hold up to four different boxed protective products and other lab essentials (size dependent). Ideal for holding different boxed sizes of gloves, mop caps, ear defenders, face masks, shoe covers etc. Displaying glove and mask box holders throughout your medical facility is essential to increase the use of certain PPE supplies. 

Features:

  • Holds any box size
  • Holds 1 to 4 boxes
  • Adjustable universal fit
  • Easy to clean
  • Wall-or door-mountable
  • Low profile wall mount
  • Mounting hardware included
  • Made in USA
  • Unit Measures: 6″ W x 30″ H x 3″ D

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Have any questions or comments about this featured product? Make sure to let us know in the comment box below.

How To Care For Your X-Ray Apron

Proper X-Ray Apron Care

Whether you already have an x-ray apron or you’re planning on purchasing one, it’s important to know the basic care requirements for keeping your x-ray apron intact. Understanding the proper x-ray apron care can result in longer use.

We’ve broken this post down into four simple recommendations to consider for how to care for your x-ray apron.

1. Cleaning
In a medical setting, it’s easy for protective apparel to get dirty. If your x-ray apron is dirty from blood or other bodily fluids, you should clean it as soon as possible. Using cold water and mild detergent, carefully wipe down your x-ray apron. Do not use bleach or any harsh chemicals, this can deteriorate and perhaps alter the effectiveness of protection. Do not autoclave, dry-clean or machine launder x-ray aprons.

2. Storage
Don’t fold, crease, drape, or sit down tightly on your x-ray aprons. We strongly recommend that our aprons are safely hung on a lead apron rack, hanger or equivalent storage unit. After storing your x-ray apron make sure to hook and loop any closure to avoid snagging or tearing of fabric. Storing aprons correctly can increase the life cycle of your x-ray aprons.

3. Inspection
It’s recommended that lead aprons are to be checked fluoroscopically at least once a year to uphold standard performance. Checking x-ray aprons as often as possible is always best practice, the slightest crack can render the apron damaged.

4. Disposal
Each apron that contains lead must be properly disposed. You can do this by contacting a disposal service who can properly discard lead material. Hazardous-waste carriers and certain handling companies have pick-up or drop-off services for unwanted aprons.  Alternatively, all non-lead aprons can be disposed of in the regular garbage disposal. There is no need to contact a disposal service for non-lead aprons.

These recommendations are key to caring for x-ray aprons. Take care of your x-ray aprons, if not the abuse can significantly shorten apron’s use. If you have any questions or comments regarding x-ray apron care, please let us know in the comment box below.

Understanding the key elements of x-ray aprons

If you are looking to purchase a new x-ray apron it is important to understand the core material, coverage and style options of your new x-ray apron. Download your free white paper below to learn more about selecting the proper x-ray apron for your specific needs.

 

 

Clear Acrylic Vial Racks For Easy Handling

Vial racks come in all different shapes, colors and sizes. To best suit your laboratory needs, it’s important to consider the various features vial racks have. Vial racks in the laboratory serve to adequately store and transport test tubes, safely.

Some vial racks are made of durable acrylic and come in a clear color. This acrylic material is solid and will allow for multiple uses within a laboratory. Clear acrylic vial racks allow for excellent visibility of vial contents compared to those with solid colors. Being able to see the contents within the test tubes can be important, as it may save time and help keep laboratory professionals efficient. Vial racks are also a great way to keep organization among many test tubes. Staying organized certainly goes a long way in the medical field and will result in less confusion and fewer accidents.

Our Large Vial Rack can hold 25mm, 30mm and 40mm diameter vials. This unit is for high capacity test tube storage and transporting. This rack is clear to allow laboratory professionals easy viewing of vial contents or test tube labels. The Small Rack for 13mm Tubes is also a clear acrylic vial rack, but smaller in size. This unit is ideal for those working with a small amount of 13mm test tubes and are looking for a rack that doesn’t take up much counter space. Both vial racks can be assembled and disassembled for easy cleaning by simply unscrewing the side post by hand.

Durable vial racks are an essential element when transporting test tubes from one station to the next. In many labs, it is common for test tubes to be moved around and these durable racks will assist in a safe transport.

Are you using vial racks within your laboratory? Let us know by posting a comment below!