ARPANSA & NATA accreditation: Keeping Australians safe in the sun 

Member News November 9, 2023
NATA team

It’s been a busy year for the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency’s (ARPANSA) laboratories, with two services gaining NATA accreditation in October alone – the Ultraviolet Effectiveness (UVE) Testing Service for shade fabrics and a brand-new eye radiation monitoring service. 

We spoke to ARPANSA’s Senior Communications Officer, Alison Pryor on how ARPANSA’s NATA accreditation is helping keep Australians safe in the sun. 

“Gaining and maintaining NATA accreditation is integral to reassuring ARPANSA’s consumers and clients that its laboratories, products and services all meet stringent Australian and international laboratory quality standards,” said Alison. “Consequently, 7 of the agency’s laboratories are accredited to ISO 17025.”  

But what about the services, research and products produced by these laboratories? 

“ARPANSA’s scientists work across a diverse range of radiation-related fields, all of which support the agency’s aim to protect the Australian people and environment from the harmful effects of radiation. NATA accreditation for ARPANSA services – as well as the laboratories themselves – is therefore a key priority,” added Alison. 

UVR Assistant Director Lydia Tjong oversees the ARPANSA UV testing programs and appreciates the quality assurance that comes with NATA accreditation. 

“ARPANSA’s Ultraviolet Radiation (UVR) Services has offered manufacturers accredited ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) clothing testing for some years. Not surprisingly, the success of this program was a strong driver for us in seeking accreditation for our new ultraviolet effectiveness (UVE) shade fabric testing program,” she explained. 

The assessment for the accreditation was performed by a NATA assessment team that included Dr Steve Jenkin – a world leader in photometry and radiometry. With Steve’s time and advice, the ARPANSA team was able to demonstrate their high-level competence in the assessment and determination of UVE.  

“NATA has thorough accreditation requirements and provides a wealth of resources to assist laboratories in maintaining accreditation. Periodic audits also mean that each step of our laboratory work undergoes a stringent evaluation from experienced assessors,” added Lydia. 

ARPANSA’s Personal Radiation Monitoring Service (PRMS) also recently expanded its services. In an Australian-first, the team attained NATA accreditation for its eye dosimetry monitoring service.   

PRMS Assistant Director Stephen Marks said that this latest accreditation provides customers with further assurance that their exposure is being monitored against top industry standards. 

“This innovative technology enables Australian medical workers to track their eye radiation exposure levels, knowing that the laboratory and processes are regularly inspected and approved to NATA’s high standards,” said Stephen.  

Understanding radiation exposure to the eye is particularly important as eye tissues are extremely sensitive to radiation.  

“Being able to measure localised exposure gives a better understanding of dose and helps assess the effectiveness of radiation shielding measures to protect workers’ eyes,” added Stephen. 

These newly accredited services are just two examples of the radiation protection services ARPANSA provides to protect patients, workers and indeed, all Australians. 

Watch why ARPANSA and Sun Safety Matters.