Taking into account the special working conditions during the COVID-19 lockdown we considered important to assess any possible impact on radiation protection and radiation safety. To this purpose, we conducted a survey from 11 to 19 of June 2020, aiming specifically at identifying:
a. any problems arisen with the implementation of practices using ionizing radiation;
b. the degree of satisfaction from EEAE response during the lockdown.
The questionnaire was sent to undertakings subject to regulatory control. The recipients’ list included undertakings conducting practices involving medical exposure (hospitals, health care units, etc.) or non-medical exposure (industries, research institutes, etc.).
Some conclusions drawn by the analysis of the responses include the following:
- the COVID-19 restrictions did not cause problems in practices with ionizing radiation (79% of responses). Some operational problems or problems related to the compliance with radiation protection controls were identified in medical facilities, possibly in reference hospitals designated to treat COVID-19 cases due to workload and accesibility restrictions;
- there was no significant impact in terms of occupational, medical or public exposure;
- 23% of the undertakings responded that they modified the use of diagnostic equipment during the lockdown; 18% said that they had to modify common hospital rooms to radiology areas;
- only in few cases the workload of the exposed workers increased, due to the increase in the number of radiation diagnostic examinations (e.g. chest X-ray procedures), possibly in reference hospitals designated to treat COVID-19 cases. In the rest of the cases the lockdown resulted in a decrease of the workload;
- the majority of respondents seems satisfied with EEAE actions and initiatives during the lockdown;
- the launch of activities, such as the remote inspections and the on-line training are very much welcomed by the 88% of the respondents; it is proposed to systematically conduct such activities in the future.
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