OBJECTIVE To describe self-reported use of x-ray personal protective equipment (PPE) by veterinary workers in Saskatchewan, Canada, and to examine factors that affected their use of x-ray PPE.
DESIGN Cross-sectional survey.
SAMPLE 331 veterinary workers.
PROCEDURES A questionnaire was distributed to Saskatchewan veterinary workers electronically and by conventional mail. Recipients were encouraged to share the questionnaire with colleagues. The questionnaire consisted of questions regarding radiation safety practices used during small animal radiographic procedures, including frequency of use of dosimeters and lead aprons, thyroid shields, eyeglasses, and gloves. Respondents were also requested to provide suggestions for increasing use of PPE.
RESULTS 460 questionnaires were completed, of which 331 were returned by workers involved with performing radiographic procedures. Two hundred eighty-five of 331 (86%) respondents reported that at least 1 worker was always in the room during x-ray exposure, and 325 (98%), 291 (88%), and 9 (3%) respondents reported always wearing a lead apron, thyroid shield, and protective eyeglasses, respectively, during radiographic imaging. Two hundred seventeen of 327 (66%) respondents used lead gloves correctly less than half the time. Mean percentage of time that gloves were worn correctly was higher for workers who were required to do so by their employers than for those who were not.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Results suggested use of PPE during radiographic procedures can be increased by employers making PPE use mandatory. Other respondent-identified factors that would increase PPE use included the availability of properly fitting and functional PPE and education of workers about health risks associated with ionizing radiation exposure.