The “Sweet 16” Of Radiology Violations

Thanks to dozens of calls, the time has come to take an "inside" look at compliance issues involving radiation and lasers in the Dental office. Surprisingly enough, this is one topic we've never written about…ever! So, since this is way overdue, let's put this subject under the X-ray and take a look at the "Sweet 16" of violations I see.

Recently I did some research, spurred by all the questions, to identify the most common violations Dentists get busted for by either OSHA or their State Boards of Dental Examiners. Here is what I uncovered, going from the most common (#1) to least common (#16):

  1. Purchasing a Dental practice and failing to obtain a new radiation registration as the new owner unregistered equipment
  2. Being delinquent in the payment of the required annual registration fee
  3. Failing to either have or complete office Radiation Operation and Safety Procedures, coupled with these practice guidelines not being signed by the Radiation Safety Officer and ALL persons who participate in exposing X-rays
  4. No documentation of completion of annual compliance tasks
  5. Issues related to time-temperature chart and timer or not having a thermometer available
  6. Using the wrong safelight filter, wattage and/or distance
  7. Having uncredentialed personnel taking X-rays
  8. X-ray technique chart either being unavailable or incomplete
  9. Or…having a completed technique chart available or posted but clinical techniques being employed do not match the chart
  10. Annual protective device test not being performed
  11. Required Radiation Area caution signs are not posted when required and/or required machine label is absent
  12. Detected inaccuracies with the timer
  13. Patient viewing system is either not available or not being used, along with two-way sight/sound communication not being available while X-rays are being taken
  14. Technician closer than 6 feet from the X-ray cone while taking X-rays
  15. Records of receipt, transfer and/or disposal not available or failure to notify DSHS of an inventory change and disposition of any machines/equipment removed from the practice
  16. Taking X-rays on human subject for non-Dental purposes

Do any of these ring a bell? My goal is to help you keep your hard-earned money in your pocket and out of the government's pockets. We will be exploring more on this subject in future posts and go inside the world of radiation and laser compliance. After all, an ounce of prevention is a lot less painful and a much smarter investment, than thousands of dollars in the government violation "cure."