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.

Specific procedures

Acquiring and installing X-ray emitting devices (XED)

Important: Please inform Radiation Safety Officer (RSO) of any newly acquired XED.

X-ray equipment must be installed, operated and maintained in accordance with the requirements of the appropriate Health Canada Safety Code. After installation of new XEDs, an inspection should be completed by the installer where device safeguards and dose rates are measured to verify that the device and its set-up is compliant with all federal and provincial regulations.

  • Some of the requirements within the Health Canada Safety Code consist of appointing a Responsible User, conducting radiation surveys, and investigating high exposure incidents
  • An inspection report indicating that the device and its set-up are acceptable shall be obtained by the Responsible User and owner. The report must be forwarded to the RSO prior to the commencement of any work with the device

Selling, donating, or disposing of an XED

  • For sale or donation of XRF devices, the seller or donor must must comply with the RED Act and RED Regulations
  • When disposing of an XRF device, the device owner must observe the instructions provided by the manufacturer in the product manual or contact the manufacturer for information and guidance
  • Please complete the XED Termination form and submit to Radiation Safety

For more detailed information, please refer to Health Canada’s Addendum to Safety Code 32.

Safety Requirements

The primary hazard of analytical XED’s is the generated ionizing radiation and the potential for biological damage as a result of exposure to X-rays. The design safety requirements are specified in the Radiation Emitting Devices Regulations and Health Canada’s Safety Code 32 identifies the requirements for all existing X-ray diffraction (XRD), X-ray fluorescence spectrophotometer (XRF) and cabinet X-ray equipment.

General Safeguards

In order to ensure an acceptable level of protection, please refer to the General Safeguards Plan.

Pre-operational safety checks

To ensure you are in compliance with the pre-operational safety checks, please consult Pre-operational Safety Checks Plan.

Self-inspection Checklist

Self inspection of XEDs should be conducted once per year. Once completed, please e-mail a copy to rad-safety@sfu.ca and maintain records in respective location. 

Download self-inspection form here.

XED Set-up for External Operators

To begin work with an XED in conjunction with an external contractor, the contractor is required to provide the following documentation to the SFU Project Manager at least 3 days prior to starting work:

  • Instrument certification and confirmation that the device complies with the RED act (HS-SC34-2003 Sec 2.2.1)
  • Instrument maintenance records and safety checks (valid for 12 months)
  • Current Leakage Radiation Test for the device (valid for 12 months)
  • Radiation scatter profile (For portable XRF device)
  • A written control and implementation plan to prevent ingress during testing
  • A copy of the contractor's written site-specific emergency procedures
  • Name and contact information of the company's Radiation Safety Officer
  • Standard operating procedure for the instrument
  • Manufacturer training records for the instrumentation

The following documention is required from all SFU employees who intend on operating the device:

  • SFU X-ray safety training certificate
  • Proof of instrument specific training

During operation, the following documentation needs be be kept:

  • Perform and keep a log of regular safety checks
  • Perform and keep a log of regular signage and label checks
  • Usage log

In addition, the Industrial Radiography /XED  Checklist (refer to IR section) needs to be  completed and filled out by the contractor, the SFU  Project Manager and the Radiation Safety Officer.


 Industrial Radiography (IR) 

Every radiographer must have a Canadian Nuclear Safety (CNSC) license for the possession and use of radioactive sources. To ensure the safety of  university's students, faculty, staff and the public, every IR project must be approved by  SFU's RSO.

SFU's Industrial Radiography Checklist document must be authorized by SFU's Facilities Project Manager responsible for the work, indicating that this work will be conducted following  the University's industrial  radiography approval process. Following authorization  the checklist must be signed  by the radiographer  and send to SFU's Radiation Safety Officer (rso-info@sfu.ca) in agreement that all requirements have been met in preparation for the IR project. 

For the approval  of an IR project please submit to SFU's RSO:

  • the completed  IR checklist
  • Contractor's , radiographer's, CNSC license for the  radiation source and equipment
  • radiographer's  training certificate
  • leak test of  source being used for testing and  source specifications ( e.g. Ir-192 ,  activity)
  • a site plan indicating the area where the work will be condcuted, indicating potential exposure areas
  • a copy of the communication submitted to all potential stakeholders

Following the conclusion of the work, all records should be kept on site by the Project Manager, and made available to the Radiation Safety Officer during inspection upon request.

The radiography approval system ensures that:

  • the radiography source and user are licensed or otherwise approved by regulatory authorities
  • the potential hazards of exposure to the radioactive sources have been identified and assessed
  • that necessary safety measures are in place
  • that workers, students and staff are aware of the safety procedures to follow during testing


Emergency Response

Emergency procedures are specific for each facility and should be organized with the assistance of the RSO. Emergency procedures are required to be posted for the following events:

  • Fire
  • Flood
  • Earthquake
  • Equipment malfunction