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Vehicle X-ray scanning at borders could be better


27 Apr 2012



Geneva – Further to the adoption of an IRU Resolution on Limiting the health and safety risks of x-ray vehicle inspection technology for commercial vehicle drivers, and due to border, port and other inspection authorities increasingly and repeatedly using non-intrusive inspection - “x-ray” - technology to generate interior images of commercial vehicles, a scientific study was commissioned with the aim of protecting drivers from any possible negative health effects of x-ray machines.

The field study shows that there are no occupational health and safety hazards for drivers, even if repeatedly exposed to x-ray scanning. Measurements and analysis also show that radiation effects do not continue in the vehicle after it has been scanned.

IRU Vice President and President of the IRU Goods Transport Council (CTM), Pere Padrosa, said “Given the importance of this issue, the IRU partnered with the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) to investigate potential risks to drivers’ health and safety during x-ray scanning of commercial vehicles. The study results clearly show that information about the scanning process needs to be improved, while it is also crucial to streamline non-harmonised and redundant inspections that currently take place. In this respect, governments have an indisputable role and responsibility to implement scientific recommendations.”

Indeed, the scientific study highlighted that procedures at borders were not always followed according to internationally recognised standards and therefore recommended that concerned ministries and competent border authorities:

1.    Install appropriate information panels wherever x-ray scanning is performed;

2.    Develop x-ray scanning certificates to facilitate and accelerate the scanning process;

3.    Ensure the implementation of internationally accepted x-ray scanning procedures;

4.    Improve the education of drivers, customs officers and operators on the functioning and risk of x-ray scanning. 

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