A Pakistani radiographer was injured after trying to repair equipment at the Sardar Sugar Mills, Ghotki, Sindh, Pakistan in May 2009.
On May 26, 2009 after performing RT with Ir-192 source of 60 Ci the Wamico Pakistan Ltd radiographer found that used, and unused films, were highly exposed. When he inspected the source guide tube, the source assembly fell on the ground. The radiographer picked up the source assembly by hand and put it back into the projector. Erythema appeared on his both hands in three days after the event. In two weeks, blistering appeared on hands which developed into open wounds. The victim has been sent for further medical investigation and treatment. The dose to the hands (extremities) was estimated to be between 25~30 Sv.
According to the Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Agency, investigations revealed that the worker violated the procedures under work pressure and safety tools were not properly used. In addition, the radiographer also did not use personal dosimeter and radiation monitor during the activity. The original incident which caused the problem was due to a faulty gamma projector and drive cable, which caused the source to disconnect and stick in the guide tube. Weaknesses were observed in management oversight, work supervision and safety culture of the organization.
The Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Agency served a work stoppage notice to the company. Further enforcement actions are being taken against the company involved in the incident.
Due to overexposure of the worker resulting in acute health effects, the incident is rated at level 3. The notice was published on the IAEA's NEWS nuclear events reporting system on 7 August.
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