[ RadSafe ] radiography incident -Unpardonable carelessness

Dan McCarn hotgreenchile at gmail.com
Mon Apr 2 12:39:47 CDT 2012

Hi Dr. P:

I remember taking my helicopter safety training years ago for geological
reconnaissance in remote areas. The entire training took 1 week. Part of
that training involved watching & discussing films in which very badly
burned pilots were reporting on their personal experiences of survival
following catastrophic failure of aircraft. Following that training, I
spent several weeks involved in "higher-hazard" flight operations at high
altitudes.  I had one very close call after a main rotor stall 3 meters
above the ground at about 3,300 m elevation. The helicopter became a very
large "weed-eater" for a few seconds and the rotors barely managed to miss
several large boulders. I was wearing all my safety equipment (nomex flight
suit, gloves and helmet). The company that I worked for lost 2 crews and
helicopters doing similar work over a 2-year period.  One of these crashes
resulted from a rear-rotor failure.  The other was likely due to a main
rotor stall while attempting to land at high altitude, similar to my

Personally, I feel that such graphic means are necessary to impress on
personnel the potential dangers inherent in these sorts of activities, but
re-training is required. Perhaps if the individuals involved had an
occasional adrenalin rush from a "close call" (such as in other hazardous
work), they would be more respectful of the danger potential.

Training for normal operations is not difficult; knowing that if part of
the equipment fails, it's time to go to your supervisor or company of
manufacture and get advise that may not be in the operations book is
essential.  I think the equipment failure as described would be the
helicopter equivalent of a main rotor stall or worse... And that is an
unthinkable failure.

I remember this exact sort of failure occurred on geophysical logging
trucks from time to time.

Dan ii

Dan W McCarn, Geologist
108 Sherwood Blvd
Los Alamos, NM 87544-3425
+1-505-672-2014 (Home – New Mexico)
+1-505-670-8123 (Mobile - New Mexico)
HotGreenChile at gmail.com (Private email) HotGreenChile at gmail dot com

On Sun, Apr 1, 2012 at 7:08 PM, Dahlskog, Leif <
Leif.Dahlskog at health.wa.gov.au> wrote:

> Dear Parthasarathy
> I agree with you about pictures of burns etc.  In our jurisdiction we
> require the ind. rad. assistants (trainee) to undergo a basic radiation
> safety exam.  I used to administer the exam some years ago.  After the
> exam, I'd show the examinee a dummy pigtail (source holder) as this
> would hopefully be the only time they'd ever see one, but if they did in
> future they'd recognise what it was.  I would also show them some
> graphic pictures of burns caused by ind. rad. accidents.  If they choose
> to work in this industry they must recognise the potential for serious
> injury and death and their responsibilities to safety for colleagues and
> the public.  The IAEA accident reports are very useful for this.
> Particularly 'The Radiological Accident in Yanango' which can be found
> in acrobat pdf format on the IAEA website.
> The U.S.N.R.C. had a video titled "Taking Control: Safe Procedure for
> Industrial Radiography" which although used the wrong units ( :-} -
> that's a smiley - ie humour intented for those challenged on a Monday
> morning), was about the best I'd seen covering basic safety for
> industrial radiographers. It was in VHS-NTSC format. I had it converted
> to PAL format and with USNRC's permission, distributed copies to all the
> industrial radiography companies in our jurisdiction.  An update of the
> video with Bq and Sv in DVD format would be great but I am not aware if
> it is even available any longer.
> regards
> Leif Dahlskog
> Senior Health Physicist
> Radiation Health Branch
> Grace Vaughan House, 227 Stubbs Terrace, Shenton Park WA 6009
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