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KNOWLEDGE OF RADIATION PROTECTION PRACTICE
Radiation protection entails the harmful effect of ionizing radiation, the interaction of any amount of ionizing radiation of any type, such as X-rays, gamma rays, electrons, protons, neutrons, alpha particles and beta particles with a biological system results in the absorption of the energy of the radiation by the system. This in turn may result in effects that become manifest in the exposed individuals (somatic effects) or appear in the descendant of exposed individuals (Genetic or Hereditary effects). The physics of the absorption process is over in 10-16 seconds, the chemistry takes longer, since the life time of the free radical is about 10-6 seconds, the biology takes days to months for cell killing, years for carcinogenesis, and generations for heredity damage. Available information on human susceptibility to effects of ionizing radiations has it that the lethal dose for 50% of the exposed population to die within thirty days of exposure is about three gray, for whole body exposure. Some organs and tissues are more sensitive to radiation and some are less. More sensitive tissues are blood forming organs, reproductive organs are those that constitute the nervous system. Death of a person may result from the overall exposure of the body for the destruction of vital organs. Acute exposure and chronic exposure at equal total doses may or may not produce the same effects.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Radiation is all around us, it is naturally present in our environment and has been since the birth of this planet. Radiation is a process in which energetic particles or energetic waves travel through a medium or space. There two classes of radiation, ionizing and non ionizing radiation. Ionizing Radiation is defined as a radiation having sufficient energy to ionize an atom in the medium through which it passes. As a matter of convention, ionizing radiation is classified as photons(X rays and gamma rays) or particles (electrons, protons, neutrons, alpha particles and beta particles). When ionizing radiation passes through matter, it may interact with whole atom electrons, nuclei or nucleons.
This interaction process in general is often described as collision. In this case of practical interest, the interaction results in the full transfer of energy of the incident radiation to electrons or nuclei of the constituent atoms or to charged particle products of nuclear reactions. The major sources of ionizing radiation that were available until 1930s were naturally occurring radioactive substance and low energy X-ray. But today, ionizing radiation can be produced from particle accelerations (Shalak and Chien, 1986) and is present in the environment, it is invisible and not directly detectable by human senses, so instrument such as Geiger counters are usually required to detect its presence.
According to World Health Organization, there are about 250 million cases of work-related injuries per year worldwide.1 One of the jobs that contribute to these occupational injuries is non-industrial welding, especially in developing countries including Nigeria. Welders cut and join metal parts using flame, electric arc or other sources of heat. There are three main classes of welding, namely, arc, oxyacetylenefuel
and robotic welding. Some of the hazards of this occupation include ultraviolet (UV) and infrared radiation (IR) exposure, fumes and particulate generation, thermal burns, occupational heat stress, exposure to electromagnetic fields, and electrocution.2 Similarly, the excessive lighting (glare) and exposure to UV radiation may lead to `arc eye’ or `flash burn’ injuries to the cornea, photokeratosis and double vision and consequent retinal damage.2,3 Welders are also exposed to noxious metal fumes
containing a cocktail of metals like zinc, copper, cobalt, nickel, chromium, platinum, and their oxides leading to various respiratory dysfunctions and influenza-like condition called metal fume fever.
Employment of safety measures and practices among welders are important ways of preventing or reducing the levels of health hazards associated with the occupation. While adherence to these precautions is nearly universal in the developed world, little is known about the situation in developing world including Nigeria.
In metropolitan Kaduna, the former administrative capital of northern Nigeria, welders are usually located around mechanic workshops, motor spare-parts markets and along major highways where they establish privately owned small-scale workshops. This group has no organized occupational health service and their adherence to safety measures is unknown. We, therefore assessed the level of awareness of these hazards among welders in Kaduna metropolis and the safety measures and practices they adopt to safeguard their health, with a view to making recommendations on ways of ameliorating the effect of the hazards.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Welders are often exposed to potential workplace hazards that can be injurious to their health especially when exposure is on a regular and cumulative basis. The excessive high temperature generated by the hot oxyacetylene flame or the electric current may lead to burns and electric shocks2.
Injuries such as lacerations and cuts by sharp or pointed metal panes, from high velocity particles and occasional explosions of the oxyacetylene gas tanks may also occur2. The excessive lighting (glare) and exposure to ultra violet radiation may lead to ‘arc eye’ or ‘flash burn’ injuries to the cornea, photokeratosis and double vision and consequent retinal damage. Hearing impairment may result from exposure to high noise level produced by the welding machine. Welders are also exposed to noxious metal fumes containing a cocktail of metals like zinc, copper, cobalt, nickel, chromium, platinum, and their oxides leading to various respiratory dysfunctions and to the influenza-like condition known as metal fume feve. There have been reports of carcinogenic and mutagenic effects due to chronic exposure to welding fumes in animals
that may be extrapolated to man.8-10. Other organs, which may be affected by welding fumes, include the kidneys and the reproductive organs leading to reduction in sperm count and fecundity.
Welding offers employment to various individuals in Benin City, Nigeria. The welders are usually located around mechanic workshops, motor spare-parts markets and along major highways where they establish privately owned small-scale workshops with about welders per workshop. They have no form of organised occupational health service.
Employment of safety measures and practices among welders are important ways of preventing or reducing the levels of health hazards associated with the occupation. It is therefore pertinent to assess the level of awareness of these hazards among welders and the safety measures and practices they adopt to safeguard their health, with a view
to making recommendations on ways of ameliorating the effect of the hazards.
1.3 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
1. To find out how much, the non radiation workers (personnel) knew about radiation hazard.
2. To know if they actually practice radiation protection.
3. To identify the basic principle of radiation protection.
4. To assess the knowledge and awareness of radiation among welders in Nigeria.
5. To examine the extent of eye protection practices and symptoms among welders in the Nigeria.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTION
1. How much does non radiation workers (personnel) knew about radiation hazard?
2. Does non radiation workers actually practice radiation protection?
3. What are the basic principle of radiation protection?
4. Do welder in Nigeria have full knowledge and awareness of radiation practice?
5. To what extent does non radiation workers practice eye protection practices?
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOYTHESES
H0: Non radiation workers have no knewledge about radiation hazard.
H1: Non radiation workers have full knewledge about radiation hazard.
1.6 SIGNFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study will help to create awareness about Radiation protection to general public.
ii). Also help to prompt the personnel about the effects of ionizing radiation.
Also help reinforce existing knowledge to the non radiation workers.
1.7 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This scope of this research work is a study of radiation protection awareness in non non radiation workers.
1.7 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
Despite the limited scope of this study certain constraints were encountered during the research of this project. Some of the constraints experienced by the researcher were given below:
i. time: This was a major constraint on the researcher during the period of the work. Considering the limited time given for this study, there was not much time to give this research the needed attention.
ii. Finance: Owing to the financial difficulty prevalent in the country and it’s resultant prices of commodities, transportation fares, research materials etc. The researcher did not find it easy meeting all his financial obligations.
iii. Information Constraints: Nigerian researchers have never had it easy when it comes to obtaining necessary information relevant to their area of study from private business organization and even government agencies. People find it difficult to reveal their internal operations. The primary information was collected through face-to-face interview getting the published materials on this topic meant going from one library to other which was not easy. Although these problems placed limitations on the study, but it did not prevent the researcher from carrying out a detailed and comprehensive research work on the subject matter.
1.9 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Radiation: Radiation is a component of man’s physical environment, and is broadly classified into ionizing and non-ionizing radiation.
Ionizing Radiation: Ionizing Radiation is defined as a radiation having sufficient energy to ionize an atom in the medium through which it passes.
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