When lead PPE (such as leaded aprons, thyroid collars, skirts, vests and gloves) is not handled and stored properly, it can develop tears in the fabric; as a result, the person wearing that PPE will be exposed to ionizing radiation. While damage like this may not be visible to the human eye, it can be detected during a fluoroscopic x-ray inspection. To prevent this, never fold lead aprons. When storing lead PPE, always hang it up or lay it flat.
The Tennessee Department of Health and Environment, Division of Radiological Health (TDEC, DRH) requires inspection of lead shielding used as Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Vanderbilt Bedford Hospital (VBH) requires annual visual and fluoroscopic inspection. Lead shielding PPE inspections are also a high priority with the Joint Commission, and in areas where lead aprons are used, Environment of Care (EOC) survey teams check to verify that leaded aprons and other radiation shielding PPE have been inspected within the last year.
Each year, the VBH Department of Radiology coordinates with a vendor to provide courtesy annual lead shielding inspections. Inspections include free inspection upon new purchase arrival, inventory tracking with annual reminders, visual & fluoroscopic annual inspection, and maintenance of an inspection history record for each item.
For 2022/2023, a green ring indicates that lead aprons have been inspected and meet all requirements for use. If a lead apron does not have a yellow ring or for any other questions regarding the VBH lead inspection program contact Kristy Watkins, Director of Imaging and Cardiovascular Services at (931) 685-8638 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.