Inspecting Lead PPE
Last Updated: 11/9/2021
Purpose/ Applicability: Protective lead aprons, gloves, and shields must be checked at least annually for defects such as holes, cracks, and tears. The first check should be a visual inspection of the equipment. Fluoroscopy or radiography may be used only after the visual inspection indicates a potential problem. If a significant defect is found, the item must be removed from service until repaired or replaced. A record of these checks must be maintained.
Scope: This SOP is to be used by employees of the Imaging/Radiology service to verify the lead personal protective equipment (PPE) is safe for continued use. Unsafe items will be removed from service.
- Lay the garment on a table. Perform a visual and physical inspection for defects such as tears, perforation, voids or thinning creases. Fluoroscopy and radiology shall be used for checking lead to ensure that there are not any hidden deficits that are not visible on the physical exam.
- Immediately removed defective lead PPE from service.
- Log the date of all PPE inspections, by documenting the date on the apron using a permanent marker.
Indications that a garment is unacceptable
- Voids larger than about 1.5cm2 (about half the size of a dime)
- Loss or thinning of shielding material visible under fluoroscopy.
- Failure of fastening devices.
- Any other issue that causes the evaluator to deem the garment unacceptable.
- In the case of the item being deemed unacceptable and pulled from use, the garment is marked “DO NOT USE” and removed from use areas and place in a storage area. Use the Division of Research Safety (drs.illinois.edu) Request a Waste Pick Up to arrange for pickup and proper disposal. Lead is a hazardous material and must be appropriately disposed of.
Routine Storage of Lead Aprons
- Protective aprons should be stored or draped to prevent cracks. Ideally, they should be hung by the shoulder(s) or stored on an approved apron hanger. Aprons should never be folded or creased, which may cause cracks to develop in the lead