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X-Ray Technician Safety

As the main focus of their jobs, X-Ray Technicians operate medical x-ray machines in the healthcare setting to provide valuable and often life-saving diagnostic information. But there is more to this job than positioning a machine and pushing a button. X-Ray Technicians should know and prepare for the hazards that can accompany their various job functions.

An X-Ray Technician’s primary job duty is to operate medical x-ray machines. Because x-ray machines emit radiation, it is important to learn the appropriate machine settings and the exposure limits for radiation. ALWAYS be aware when the x-ray tube is active. Warning lights, shielding, and other safety devices should be maintained in good working order. Get the training to adjust, maintain and operate the equipment properly. Step behind protective walls or wear a shielded apron when the x-ray is active. Personal dosimetry can be used to monitor your potential exposures to radiation and make sure that you are within safe limits.

X-ray machines can be in a fixed radiology lab, or they can be portable machines used in clinical and surgical settings. Either way, the patients receiving the x-rays may be injured or undergoing medical and/or surgical procedures that can involve exposure to blood and other body fluids. Make sure that you take universal precautions when working with patients. Wear gloves at all times and goggles, a mask, and gown when necessary. Wash and sterilize equipment after each use to practice infection control; this protects you and the patients.

To get the best quality x-ray films, X-Ray Technicians are required to manipulate the equipment and the patient for perfect alignment. When moving x-ray equipment, make sure to use good ergonomic techniques. Avoid static postures and don’t over reach or over extend your body to move the equipment. Be aware that patients that have been injured or are in pain may act unpredictably. Get assistance from other workers when transporting and assisting patients. Use good lifting techniques with a straight back and soft knees to protect your back.

Developing the x-ray films requires the use of various chemicals and film processing equipment. Read the material safety data sheets (MSDS) for the developing chemicals and ensure that you know how to operate the equipment properly. Know and understand the mix ratios and fill levels for all of the chemicals. Wear chemical resistant gloves and splash goggles when working with wet chemicals.

Earn a competitive salary and play a valuable role in the health of your community; attend one of the nation's respected x-ray technician schools and earn your radiographer certificate or degree.

Know and prepare for the hazards involved with medical x-rays and get a clear picture of safety.

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