X-ray safety

The SFU X-ray safety program facilitates and ensures safe use of X-ray Emitting Devices (XEDs) in research, teaching and the environment.

Exposure Control

Through the Radiation Safety Program SFU ensures that the exposure of an employee, researcher, student or visitor working with a device that may emit nuclear energy does not exceed the radiation dose limits set out in the Radiation Protection Regulations.

The CNSC regulates the allowable radiation dose received by workers. Anyone in a position where there is a possibility that they may receive a dose higher than that allowed for members of the public must be classified as a Nuclear Energy Worker (NEW).

For further details, please refer to radiation safety – exposure control.


It is mandatory to enroll in a dosimetry program where exposure calculations indicate a reasonable likelihood of radiation exposure. In order to work with any X-ray emitting device (XED) a dosimeter must be worn for personal safety monitoring. If you are unsure whether you need a dosimeter, please review dosimetry for X-ray users.

To obtain a dosimeter, apply for a Radiation Safety badge. The Radiation Safety Technician (RST) will provide a brief orientation for dosimeter use and storage. Note that SFU leases licensed dosimeters from the National Dosimetry Services, Health Canada, and dosimetry badges must be used and stored properly. For more information, contact the Radiation Safety staff at : radsafe-info@sfu.ca.

Personal exposure reports

Radiation safety staff maintain all records of internal and external monitoring in conjunction with the National Dosimetry Service. Personal exposure reports can be made available upon request. Please contact the Radiation Safety staff at radsafe-info@sfu.ca for further information.

Personal Monitoring Program

External Monitoring

If you are unsure of whether you require a dosimeter, or for more information, see Dosimetry for X-ray users, or contact the Radiation Safety Technician (RST) at rad-safety@sfu.ca.

Pregnancy or planned pregnancy

Should an authorized radiation worker become pregnant, special consideration must be made to ensure limited exposure to the embryo or fetus. Once a worker is aware of their pregnancy she should immediately inform the Radiation Safety Officer (RSO) in writing. The RSO and permit holder will then determine appropriate accommodations to limit further doses to the worker. For more information visit the lab safety - pregnancy page.


XED instrumentation is manufactured self-shielded. Otherwise, shield as appropriate. For example, use lead aprons for handheld XRF devices, during fieldwork. If you are working with lead, please print out and post a copy of the lead Safety document.

Survey meters

All locations where XED’s are used should have a survey meter and an ion chamber meter, to:

  • Identify and monitor radiation levels of critical areas of equipment (e.g., tube housing, beam ports, shutters, and analysis accessories) during set up and beam alignment procedures, and following modifications and alterations to the device or its accessories
  • Ensure that compliance with the regulatory limit (~4.3 μSv/hr at 5 cm from any external surface of the equipment) is maintained, and that the permissible dose limits would not be exceeded under routine operation conditions of the equipment

Note: Survey monitoring is mandatory to ensure safe performance of equipment and safe radiation levels in work areas.

For more information, please visit Radiation Safety - Equipment.