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Definition of significant accidental or unintended exposures

  • Organisations we regulate

Regulation 2 of IR(ME)R defines accidental and unintended exposures.

When accidental and unintended exposures are judged to be ‘significant’ (or SAUE), they need to be notified to the enforcement authority under Regulation 8(4). To help you make notifications, we categorise SAUE as:

  • Accidental exposure: an individual has received an exposure in error, when no exposure of any kind was intended.
  • Unintended exposure: although the exposure of an individual was intended, the exposure they received was significantly greater or different to that intended. For example, in the dose received, the modality or technique carried out, anatomy, radiopharmaceutical or timing of exposure. These can happen for many reasons including procedural, systematic or human error.

Unintended exposures can also include exposures to individuals resulting from an equipment malfunction. Under IR(ME)R, the term ‘equipment’ includes equipment that delivers radiation and ancillary equipment that directly influences the dose to the individual. This can include, but is not limited to:

  • contrast injectors
  • software
  • picture archiving and communication systems (PACS) and radiology information systems (RIS) or similar
  • radiotherapy planning systems
  • treatment recording and verification systems

Regulation 8(1) refers to the employer’s responsibilities when an incident is considered as ‘clinically significant’, which must be notified to the appropriate enforcing authority under Regulation 8(4).

See the notification codes, categories and criteria table.

Last updated:
21 August 2020