FAQ

Q: Where can I obtain a copy of the current Rules of State Board of Health, Office of Radiation Control?

A: The rules are listed (Parts 1-14) on the Rules Page.

Q: How do I amend my radioactive material license? How much does it cost?

A: You can amend your license by sending your request in the form of a letter to our office. Please include the name and license number you wish to amend. All amendment requests must be signed by an individual who is authorized to act on behalf of the licensee. There is no charge for amendments to existing licenses.

Q: Why must I submit a complete, new application for a renewal of a radioactive material license?

A: Radioactive material licenses are renewed every five years. The Agency believes that it is reasonable for the licensee to perform a complete review of their radiation safety program at least once every five years.

Q: Where can I obtain information about licensing radioactive material in Alabama?

A: Much information can be obtained from our rules. If you have additional questions, please feel free to contact our licensing staff.

Q: Where can I obtain general information about radiation and radiation safety?

A: The training resources page of this web site may have some helpful information. Staff members are also willing (dependent on availability) to speak to school science classes and organizations regarding general and/or specific subjects regarding radioactive material and radiation producing machines.

Q: How do I obtain reciprocity to bring radioactive material or radiation producing machines into Alabama? How much does it cost?

A: If you wish to bring radioactive material into Alabama, or wish to service radioactive material devices in Alabama under another Agreement State or NRC license, you must supply this office with a current copy of your radioactive material license. If you have a non-medical x-ray registration in another state you must supply this office with a current copy of the registration. If you have an appropriate license or registration that can be reciprocally recognized, you will be allowed to work in Alabama under reciprocity, for up to 30 calender days each year, at no cost. You will need to notify the Agency at least 72 hours prior to entering Alabama. You may use the Agency's reciprocity form for notification purposes. If your work is to continue for more than 30 calender days, you will be required to obtain an Alabama radioactive material license or non-medical x-ray registration to continue working. Radioactive material license, application forms and non-medical x-ray registration forms are available on our Forms Page. Reciprocity does not apply to medical x-ray use. In similar circumstances, someone who wants to bring a medical use x-ray machine in from another jurisdiction would have to register with the Agency, submit any required shielding plans, and then inform the agency two days prior to entering the state to use the machines they have registered. This is covered in Part 5 of the rules.

Q: How do I report radiation emergencies or incidents?

A: Call the State EOC Communication Center at (800) 843-0699 or (205) 280-2310 and make sure you include that it is a radiological emergency. You may also call us directly during normal working hours (7:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. weekdays) at (800) 582-1866 or (334) 206-5391.

Q: Do I need a license to operate a medical use x-ray machine in Alabama, and are there any other credentials necessary to be the operator of a medical use x-ray machine?

A: Alabama does not currently require a license to operate a medical use x-ray machine. There are however, two paragraphs in the rules that apply to all persons who operate such x-ray machines. The first one is in Rule 420-3-26-.10, Notices, Instructions, And Reports To Workers; Inspections. This paragraph basically requires that persons who work around radioactive materials or radiation machines receive radiation safety training to whatever level is required for them to work safely while performing their duties. The second paragraph is found in Rule 420-3-26-.06, Radiation Safety Requirements For Users Of X-Ray In Healing Arts Or Servicers Of X-Ray Equipment. This paragraph requires that each medical use x-ray machine operator be instructed in safe operating procedures and must be competent in the safe use of the equipment. Rules Page

Q: What are my obligations as an installer of radiation machines in Alabama?

A: The rules in Alabama do not define "installer." They do, however, define services to include installation. A service company is required to register with this Agency (paragraph 420-3-26-.05(3)(g)). They are further required to possess and maintain calibrated testing equipment that will be used to assure that all radiation machines they install or maintain are in compliance with the Alabama Rules (paragraph 420-3-26-.05(5)(b)). They must report all installations to the Agency (paragraph 420-3-26-.05(5)(a). The service company must also assure that all service persons working for them are adequately trained in the subjects listed in Appendix A of Rule 420-3-26-.05, and must supply and assure the use of personal monitoring devices by all service personnel who work on operable x-ray machines. Rules Page

Q: What do I need to do before using an medical use x-ray machine in Alabama, and does my medical use x-ray machine require a state inspection by the Agency before being used?

A: Before using a medical use x-ray machine in this state, you should make certain that shielding plans have been approved and the facility is registered with the Agency. There is no requirement that this office inspect a medical use x-ray machine prior to it being used.

Q: What needs to be done before using an x-ray machine for mammography in Alabama?

A: A certificate issued by the F.D.A is required for lawful operation of all Mammography Facilities. In order to qualify for a certificate you must apply to a F.D.A. approved Accreditation Body. In Alabama, the American College of Radiology is the only accreditation body available.

Q: I am setting up a new x-ray room. What do I need to do to meet the State's radiation shielding requirements?

A: When a new x-ray room is being built, the agency requires that shielding plans for the room be submitted to the agency for approval. The agency has published "Guide For Submission Of Information Necessary For The Evaluation Of Radiation Shielding Required For Plan Reviews" to assist persons who are not well acquainted with this process. This guide includes an item by item checklist that should enable anyone to submit a complete room plan.

Q: My job involves working with x-rays or radioactive material, and I am pregnant. What do I do?

A: As a pregnant worker you have two options by law. You may continue working in your current job with no changes, or you may declare your pregnancy to your employer (see Rule 420-3-26-.03(13)). If you choose to declare your pregnancy, it must be declared in writing and include the estimated date of conception. This declaration may be undeclared, by the employee, at any time they choose. Once a pregnancy has been declared, an employer is required to furnish the pregnant worker with two personal monitoring devices. The first of which is to be worn on the collar, outside any lead protective devices. The second personal monitoring device is to be worn at the waist, under any lead protective device. The employer shall ensure that the embryo/fetus does not receive more than 500 mrem exposure over the entire pregnancy, and that substantial variation in the monthly exposure (>50 mrem) does not occur.

Q: I have an old x-ray unit. How do I properly dispose of it?

A: The only problem with disposing of old x-ray machines is that the tube housings and transformers contain oil. This oil is considered to be a hazardous material and must be disposed of as such. Some of the older x-ray tube housings and transformers had PCBs added to their oil. PCBs are a known carcinogen. Therefore this oil must be disposed of at special facilities equipped to handle it. Check with any local x-ray service companies to find out where to dispose of these waste oils in your area. Also, don't forget to inform the agency of the disposal so the x-ray machine can be removed from your registration.

Q: What are the minimum requirements for dosimetry? Why do we need to continue using them if we never see a radiation dose on the dosimetry report?

A: The Alabama Rules have requirements in several sections concerning personnel monitoring requirements. The basic (applies to everyone) rules are found in 420-3-26-.03 and include the following:

A. Adults likely to receive 500 mrem or more annually
B. Minors likely to receive 50 mrem or more annually
C. Declared pregnant workers likely to receive 100 mrem during the entire pregnancy.
D. Persons entering a High or Very High Radiation Area.

There are also further requirements for specific types of use of radiation machines and radioactive material. These are listed in the Rules specific to the usage. Such specific requirements are listed in the following sections:

A. 420-3-26-.04, Radiation Safety Requirements For Industrial Radiographic Operations.
B. 420-3-26-.06, Radiation Safety Requirements For Users Of X-Ray In Healing Arts Or Servicers Of X-Ray Equipment.
C. 420-3-26-.09, Radiation Safety Requirements For Users Of Particle Accelerators.
D. 420-3-26-.11, Radiation Safety Requirements For Users Of Analytical X-Ray Equipment.
E. 420-3-26-.12, Radiation Safety Requirements For Wireline Service Operations And Subsurface Tracer Studies.
F. 420-3-26-.14, Radiation Safety Requirements For Irradiators.

For those situations where dosimetry is required, it is unlikely that persons actively using radioactive material or radiation machines will consistently receive zero or minimal readings. Also, keep in mind that the zero or "m" does not necessarily mean zero. For TLD devices, it means less than 30 mrem and for film badges, it means less than 10 mrem. If there is no rule that requires personnel monitoring at your facility, then it was most likely started to prove that there was no cause to monitor. In this case, monitoring can probably be discontinued, but the records need to be kept for future reference. It would be wise to consult this office prior to making any decision about discontinuing personnel monitoring.

Q: How long do we need to keep our quality assurance/quality control records for mammography?

A: MQSA requires a facility to maintain Quality Control test films for different lengths of time. A good rule of thumb is to keep records until the next annual inspection has been completed and F.D.A has determined that the facility is in compliance.

Q: Who can be a Radiation Protection Officer at an x-ray facility, and what are their responsibilities?

A: The Radiation Protection Officer (or Radiation Safety Officer) at an x-ray facility must have enough education and experience to understand the radiation protection problems and uses of x-ray in that facility. The Radiation Protection Officer must also have the authority to discontinue any use of radiation that he or she determines is being used without appropriate radiation safety procedures. The responsibilities of a Radiation Protection Officer will revolve around the required Radiation Safety Program (see 420-3-26-.03(5)). This consists of maintaining and supervising the personnel monitoring program, developing and implementing radiation safety procedures, oversight of the ALARA program, planning for new facilities and new procedures, and the continuous review of all these areas. Note that the Radiation Safety Program must be for the entire facility, and can be very different in a medical center compared to a one room private practice.


Page last updated: April 12, 2017