Physical Control and Medical Surveillance of Exposed Workers

General Information

Workers whose radiation dose may exceed the limit for the general population (1 millisievert per year) are defined in the Strahlenschutzgesetz 2020 (Radiation Protection Act 2020) as "exposed workers". Depending on their potential annual dose, a distinction is made between category A (more than 6 millisievert per year) and category B (up to 6 millisievert per year).

Exposed workers must be protected as far as possible from ionising radiation. This includes that their personal radiation exposure is monitored by suitable measurements or estimates (dose assessment). For persons in category A, additional medical examinations must be carried out.

The responsibility lies with the licenseeor the user of a type-approved device For external workers, licensee and the authorisation holder must define the respective responsibilities for the radiation protection measures by means of contractual agreements.

Analogous provisions also apply to activities involving naturally occurring materials.  Here, dose estimates are used to determine whether optimisation or protective measures should be taken.

In the case of flying personnel (now also for space travel), a dose estimate and, if necessary, a monthly dose calculation shall be performed for all exposed workers. This is calculated with the aid of mathematical models and the respective flight data. The aircraft operator or the operator in accordance with the Weltraumgesetz (Space Act) is responsible.

Dose assessment

The exposure of exposed workers must be monitored with personal dosimeters – in special cases additional incorporation controls are necessary. These measurements are carried out and evaluated by certified dosimetry service.

Medical examinations

Exposed workers in category A must be under medical surveillance in all areas of activity: medical examination prior to employment and control examinations (at least once a year) must be carried out. An examination must be carried out without undue delay in all cases where an exposed worker has been exposed to occupational exposure above the established dose limits (immediate examination). Only persons whose medical fitness has been confirmed may continue to be employed as category A exposed workers. Medical examinations must be carried out by medical practitioners, occupational health services or hospitals that have been certified for this purpose.

The collected dose values and the results of the medical examinations are stored in the Central Dose Register in accordance with the legal requirements.

Innovations with the entry into force of the new radiation protection law on 1 August 2020

The obligation to protect human health from radon in the workplace has been significantly extended. This may possibly lead to an obligation to continuously determine the dose (section 84 of the Strahlenschutzgesetz 2020).

The final examination of workers exposed to radiation is no longer necessary.

Enterprises Affected

Competent authority

Dose assessment and medical examinations shall be agreed directly between companies and the bodies certified to carry them out.

For official control

  • Companies according to the Allgemeine Strahlenschutzverordnung 2020: the licensing authority, approval authority
  • Companies according to the Strahlenschutzgesetz 2020 in conjunction with the Radonschutzverordnung: the office of the respective provincial government
  • Airlines: Austro Control GmbH

Procedure

The company must commission

  • a appropriate certified dosimetry service or certified monitoring service,  for dose assessment or dose estimation and
  • a certifiedmedical practitioner, an certified occupational health service or hospital for the medical examinations of exposed workers in category A due to their occupation.

The results of the dose assessment and, where appropriate, of the medical examination, shall be made available to the persons concerned.

Data transmission to the Central Dose Register is carried out by the body that carries out the dose assessment or the medical examination.

Costs and fees

The cost for a personal dosimeter evaluation is about 8 Euro. For other dose assessments and determinations, expenses vary depending on their types and extent. The costs of medical examinations are usually borne by the state (section 70 of the Strahlenschutzgesetz 2020).

Further information

Further Links

Legal bases

Expert Information

Last update: 10 February 2021

Responsible for the content: Federal Ministry for Climate Action, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology