Given recent public outcry regarding airport passenger scanning, I found this scientific report which provides very sensible recommendations in regard to X-ray scanning of vehicle borne commercial cargoes. A recent study commissioned by Economic Commission for Europe provides some key recommendations to ensure improved safety of scanner operators and vehicle drivers. The protection of drivers against sickness and injury arising from their work activities is an important matter, and how to manage the hazards and risks associated with transport activities which are unavoidably connected to the possible exposure of employees to ionising radiation whilst undergoing the cargo/vehicle scanning process was a key question of the study.
Ensuring maximum safety precautions, all stakeholders have a role in enhancing the radiation protection culture within the road transport sector. As it is clear that drivers included in this study are not regarded as occupationally exposed to ionising radiation, the study recommends the following to Customs and Border agencies:
- Install appropriate information panels, which include pictograms, highlighting that x-ray scanning is being performed and giving clear indications on what the driver should do to avoid unnecessary exposure;
- At concerned border crossings, make available multi-lingual information leaflets, including pictograms, which describe the x-ray process, risks and safety information;
- Develop and introduce a mutually recognised x-ray scanning certificate to prevent repeated scanning and thus facilitating and accelerating the control process;
- Ensure, with the support of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the European Commission (EC), the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the World Customs Organization (WCO), the correct implementation of internationally accepted x-ray scanning procedures;
- Ensure that customs officers and x-ray equipment operators are properly trained on the functioning and risks of x-ray scanning machines enabling them to operate the equipment safely and give adequate safety instructions to drivers; and
- In cooperation with x-ray machine manufactures, to ensure that x-ray equipment is properly maintained.