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 Wilson County Hospital (VWCH) 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 VWCH 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 SmartID tag has been installed on each piece of Lead Protective Equipment. This SmartID tag contains a QR Code that can be scanned with any smart phone. The QR code will reveal the Last Scan Date for that piece of PPE. If the date shown is within the year then that piece of lead is OK to wear for protection against ionizing radiation. If your lead does not have a SmartID tag with a QR Code on it, or for any other questions regarding the VWCH lead inspection program contact Stephanie Eidler at (615) 453-8255 or email at email@example.com.