The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many organisations – including government buildings, main corporations and embassies – to activate their business continuity plans, with many staff working from home and doors being closed to the public. Security X-ray machines that were once in continual use in these buildings have lain dormant for several months, but now it’s time for them to wake up again. One of the questions that we are regularly asked is whether you can just simply and safely press the ’on‘ button and start scanning?

Unfortunately, the short answer is no.

Your top priority is to ensure the safety of your employees and clients and, to help you do just that, we’ve compiled a five-point checklist of things to consider before you contemplate powering up your X-ray scanner.

1 – Compliance

First and foremost, you are legally required to have your X-ray machine checked for radiation safety and serviced once every year. There also must be a designated radiation protection supervisor who regularly performs checks to make sure that the X-ray scanner is working correctly and there is no radiation leakage. Although the law only requires one check, Todd Research recommends two inspections a year and offers that as standard in its service contracts.


2 – User training

It is imperative that all operators know how to effectively use your X-ray machine. All knowledge fails if it’s not regularly updated so if you operators don’t keep up with their training, that could mean that your scanner is not being used to its full potential, which might result in a security breach. Again, Todd Research includes this in its service contracts, with regular operator training taking place on every service visit, and participants receiving a certificate stating that they are certified to operate the machine.

3 – Suspect package training

The X-ray machine is only as good as the operator using it. Although the scanner will show an X­ray image, it is up to the operator to identify any suspicious items, and this is a skill that requires the right knowledge. Todd Research can offer suspect package training to ensure that your personnel are confident in identifying objects like explosives and knives, as well as incendiary and biological devices.

4 – Checks following a relocation

Many organisations took the opportunity to refurbish their facilities during lockdown, which means that some X-ray machines might have been moved from their original location. It is absolutely crucial and a legal requirement under IRR17 regulations to perform a critical examination when an X-ray machine has been relocated – even if it has been recently serviced – to ensure that nothing has been damaged during the move. Without this check, the machine could start to leak radiation as soon as it is turned on.

5 – Regeneration quality check

An X-ray machine is designed to be in constant use and, if it stays dormant for a long time and is switched on before a controlled regeneration quality check has been carried out, this could cause damage to critical components, resulting in a full X-ray failure. After a period of redundancy, the start-up procedure needs to be carried out by a qualified X-ray engineer, but this procedure can differ depending on the make and model of your scanner. A service and test scans will ensure that your X-ray machine is working at its optimal best, safely and with the best possible image quality.

So, there you have it. Five things to keep in mind regarding your X-ray scanner as we come out of lockdown. Feel free to contact us here at Todd Research if you have any questions about safety, training and how to get the best out of your X-ray equipment and, remember, we support machines from all manufacturers and offer a full suite of services.