Administrative Code

Creating a Report: Check the sections you'd like to appear in the report, then use the "Create Report" button at the bottom of the page to generate your report. Once the report is generated you'll then have the option to download it as a pdf, print or email the report.

Virginia Administrative Code
Title 12. Health
Agency 5. Department of Health
Chapter 481. Virginia Radiation Protection Regulations
7/11/2020

12VAC5-481-1621. Radiographic Equipment.

A. Control and indication of technique factors.

1. Visual indication. The technique factors to be used during an exposure shall be indicated before the exposure begins, except when automatic exposure controls are used, in which case the technique factors that are set prior to the exposure shall be indicated. On equipment having fixed technique factors, this requirement may be met by permanent markings. Indication of technique factors shall be visible from the operator's position except in the case of spot films made by the fluoroscopist.

2. Timers. Means shall be provided to terminate the exposure at a preset time interval, a preset product of current and time, a preset number of pulses, or a preset radiation exposure to the image receptor.

a. Except during serial radiography, the operator shall be able to terminate the exposure at any time during an exposure of greater than one-half second. Except during panoramic dental radiography, termination of exposure shall cause automatic resetting of the timer to its initial setting or to zero. It shall not be possible to make an exposure when the timer is set to a zero or off position if either position is provided.

b. During serial radiography, the operator shall be able to terminate the x-ray exposure at any time, but means may be provided to permit completion of any single exposure of the series in process.

3. Automatic exposure controls. When an automatic exposure control is provided:

a. Indication shall be made on the control panel when this mode of operation is selected;

b. When the x-ray tube potential is equal to or greater than 51 kilovolts peak (kVp), the minimum exposure time for field emission equipment rated for pulse operation shall be equal to or less than a time interval equivalent to two pulses and the minimum exposure time for all other equipment shall be equal to or less than 1/60 second or a time interval required to deliver five milliampere-seconds (mAs), whichever is greater;

c. Either the product of peak x-ray tube potential, current, and exposure time shall be limited to not more than 60 kilowatt-seconds (kWs) per exposure or the product of x-ray tube current and exposure time shall be limited to not more than 600 mAs per exposure, except when the x-ray tube potential is less than 51 kVp, in which case the product of x-ray tube current and exposure time shall be limited to not more than 2,000 mAs per exposure; and

d. A visible signal shall indicate when an exposure has been terminated at the limits described in subdivision 3 c of this subsection, and manual resetting shall be required before further automatically timed exposures can be made.

4. Accuracy. Deviation of technique factors from indicated values shall not exceed the limits given by the manufacturer. In the absence of manufacturer's limits, the deviation shall not exceed 10% of the indicated value for kVp and time.

B. Reproducibility. The following requirements shall apply when the equipment is operated on an adequate power supply as specified by the manufacturer:

1. Coefficient of variation. For any specific combination of selected technique factors, the estimated coefficient of variation of the air kerma shall be no greater than 0.10.

2. Measuring compliance. Determination of compliance shall be based on four consecutive measurements taken within a time period of one hour. Equipment manufactured after September 5, 1978, shall be subject to the additional requirement that all variable controls for technique factors shall be adjusted to alternate settings and reset to the test setting after each measurement. The percent line-voltage regulation shall be within ±1 of the mean value for all measurements. For equipment having automatic exposure controls, compliance shall be determined with a sufficient thickness of attenuating material in the useful beam such that the technique factors can be adjusted to provide individual exposures of a minimum of 12 pulses on field emission equipment rated for pulsed operation or no less than one-tenth second per exposure on all other equipment.

C. Linearity. The following requirements apply when the equipment is operated on a power supply as specified by the manufacturer in accordance with 21 CFR Part 1020 for any fixed x-ray tube potential within the range of 40% to 100% of the maximum rated.

1. Equipment having independent selection of x-ray tube current (mA). The average ratios of air kerma to the indicated milliampere-seconds product (mGy/mAs) obtained at any two consecutive tube current settings shall not differ by more than 0.10 times their sum. This is:

|X1 – X2| ≤ 0.10(X1 + X2)

where X1 and X2 are the average mGy/mAs values obtained at each of two consecutive mAs selector settings or at two settings differing by no more than a factor of 2 where the mAs selector provides continuous selection.

2. Equipment having selection of x-ray tube current-exposure time product (mAs). For equipment manufactured after May 3, 1994, the average ratios of air kerma to the indicated milliampere-seconds product (mGy/mAs) obtained at any two consecutive mAs selector settings shall not differ by more than 0.10 times their sum. This is:

|X1 – X2| ≤ 0.10(X1 + X2)

where X1 and X2 are the average mGy/mAs values obtained at each of two consecutive mAs selector settings or at two settings differing by no more than a factor of 2 where the mAs selector provides continuous selection.

3. Measuring compliance. Determination of compliance shall be based on four exposures, made within one hour, at each of the two settings. These two settings may include any two focal spot sizes except where one is equal to or less than 0.45 mm and the other is greater than 0.45 mm. For purposes of this requirement, focal spot size is the focal spot size specified by the x-ray tube manufacturer. The percent line-voltage regulation shall be determined for each measurement. All values for percent line-voltage regulation at any one combination of technique factors shall be within ±1 of the mean value for all measurements at these technique factors.

D. Field limitation and alignment for mobile, portable, and stationary general purpose x-ray systems. Except when spot-film devices are in service, mobile, portable, and stationary general purpose radiographic x-ray systems shall meet the following requirements:

1. Variable x-ray field limitation. A means for stepless adjustment of the size of the x-ray field shall be provided. Each dimension of the minimum field size at an SID of 100 cm shall be equal to or less than five cm.

2. Visual definition.

a. Means for visually defining the perimeter of the x-ray field shall be provided. The total misalignment of the edges of the visually defined field with the respective edges of the x-ray field along either the length or width of the visually defined field shall not exceed 2.0% of the distance from the source to the center of the visually defined field when the surface upon which it appears is perpendicular to the axis of the x-ray beam.

b. When a light localizer is used to define the x-ray field, it shall provide an average illuminance of not less than 10 foot-candles at 100 cm or at the maximum SID, whichever is less. The average illuminance shall be based on measurements made in the approximate center of each quadrant of the light field. Radiation therapy simulation systems are exempt from this requirement.

c. The edge of the light field at 100 cm or at the maximum SID, whichever is less, shall have a contrast ratio, corrected for ambient lighting, of not less than four in the case of beam-limiting devices designed for use on stationary equipment, and a contrast ratio of not less than three in the case of beam-limiting devices designed for use on mobile and portable equipment. The contrast ratio is defined as I1/I2, where I1 is the illuminance three mm from the edge of the light field toward the center of the field, and I2 is the illuminance three mm from the edge of the light field away from the center of the field. Compliance shall be determined with a measuring aperture of one mm.

E. Field indication and alignment on stationary general purpose x-ray equipment. Except when spot-film devices are in service, stationary general purpose x-ray systems shall meet the following requirements in addition to those prescribed in subsection D of this section:

1. Means shall be provided to indicate when the axis of the x-ray beam is perpendicular to the plane of the image receptor, to align the center of the x-ray field with respect to the center of the image receptor to within 2.0% of the SID and to indicate the SID to within 2.0%;

2. The beam-limiting device shall numerically indicate the field size in the plane of the image receptor to which it is adjusted;

3. Indication of field size dimensions and SIDs shall be specified in centimeters or inches and shall be such that aperture adjustments result in x-ray field dimensions in the plane of the image receptor that correspond to those indicated by the beam-limiting device to within 2.0% of the SID when the beam axis is indicated to be perpendicular to the plane of the image receptor; and

4. Compliance measurements will be made at discrete SIDs and image receptor dimensions in common clinical use (such as SIDs of 100, 150, and 200 cm or 36, 40, 48, and 72 inches and nominal image receptor dimensions of 13, 18, 24, 30, 35, 40, and 43 cm or 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, and 17 inches) or at any other specific dimensions at which the beam-limiting device or its associated diagnostic x-ray system is uniquely designed to operate.

F. Field limitation on radiographic x-ray equipment other than general purpose radiographic systems.

1. Equipment for use with intraoral image receptors. Radiographic equipment designed for use with an intraoral image receptor shall be provided with means to limit the x-ray beam such that:

a. If the minimum - source-skin distance (SSD) is 18 cm or more, the x-ray field at the minimum SSD shall be containable in a circle having a diameter of no more than seven cm; and

b. If the minimum SSD is less than 18 cm, the x-ray field at the minimum SSD shall be containable in a circle having a diameter of no more than six cm.

For dental intraoral uses, an open ended shielded positioning device shall be used.

2. X-ray systems designed for one image receptor size. Radiographic equipment designed for only one image receptor size at a fixed SID shall be provided with means to limit the field at the plane of the image receptor to dimensions no greater than those of the image receptor and to align the center of the x-ray field with the center of image receptor to within 2.0% of the SID, or shall be provided with means to both size and align the x-ray field such that the x-ray field at the plane of the image receptor does not extend beyond the edge of the image receptor.

3. Systems designed for mammography.

a. Radiographic systems designed only for mammography and general purpose radiography systems, when special attachments for mammography are in service, manufactured on or after November 1, 1977, and before September 30, 1999, shall be provided with means to limit the useful beam such that the x-ray field at the plane of the image receptor does not extend beyond any edge of the image receptor at any designated SID except the edge of the image receptor designed to be adjacent to the chest wall where the x-ray field may not extend beyond this edge by more than 2.0% of the SID. This requirement can be met with a system that performs as prescribed in subdivisions 4 a, b, and c of this subsection. When the beam-limiting device and image receptor support device are designed to be used to immobilize the breast during a mammographic procedure and the SID may vary, the SID indication specified in subdivisions 4 b and c of this subsection shall be the maximum SID for which the beam-limiting device or aperture is designed.

b. Mammographic beam-limiting devices manufactured on or after September 30, 1999, shall be provided with a means to limit the useful beam such that the x-ray field at the plane of the image receptor does not extend beyond any edge of the image receptor by more than 2.0% of the SID. This requirement can be met with a system that performs as prescribed in subdivisions 4 a, b, and c of this subsection. For systems that allow changes in SID, the SID indication specified in subdivisions 4 b and c of this subsection shall be the maximum SID for which the beam-limiting device or aperture is designed.

c. Each image receptor support device manufactured on or after November 1, 1977, intended for installation on a system designed for mammography shall have clear and permanent markings to indicate the maximum image receptor size for which it is designed.

4. Other x-ray systems. Radiographic systems not specifically covered in subsections D, E, and H of this section, which are also designed for use with extraoral image receptors and when used with an extraoral image receptor, shall be provided with means to limit the x-ray field in the plane of the image receptor so that such field does not exceed each dimension of the image receptor by more than 2.0% of the SID when the axis of the x-ray beam is perpendicular to the plane of the image receptor. In addition, means shall be provided to align the center of the x-ray field with the center of the image receptor to within 2.0% of the SID, or means shall be provided to both size and align the x-ray field such that the x-ray field at the plane of the image receptor does not extend beyond any edge of the image receptor. These requirements may be met with:

a. A system that performs in accordance with subsections D and E of this section; or when alignment means are also provided, may be met with either;

b. An assortment of removable, fixed-aperture, beam-limiting devices sufficient to meet the requirement for each combination of image receptor size and SID for which the unit is designed. Each such device shall have clear and permanent markings to indicate the image receptor size and SID for which it is designed; or

c. A beam-limiting device having multiple fixed apertures sufficient to meet the requirement for each combination of image receptor size and SID for which the unit is designed. Permanent, clearly legible markings shall indicate the image receptor size and SID for which each aperture is designed and shall indicate which aperture is in position for use.

G. Positive beam limitation (PBL). The requirements of this subsection shall apply to radiographic systems that contain PBL.

1. Field size. When a PBL system is provided, it shall prevent x-ray production when:

a. Either the length or width of the x-ray field in the plane of the image receptor differs from the corresponding image receptor dimension by more than 3.0% of the SID; or

b. The sum of the length and width differences stated in subdivision 1 a of this subsection without regard to sign exceeds 4.0% of the SID.

c. The beam-limiting device is at an SID for which PBL is not designed for sizing.

2. Conditions for PBL. When provided, the PBL system shall function as described in subdivision 1 of this subsection whenever all the following conditions are met:

a. The image receptor is inserted into a permanently mounted cassette holder;

b. The image receptor length and width are less than 50 cm;

c. The x-ray beam axis is within ±3 degrees of vertical and the SID is 90 cm to 130 cm inclusive; or the x-ray beam axis is within ±3 degrees of horizontal and the SID is 90 cm to 205 cm inclusive;

d. The x-ray beam axis is perpendicular to the plane of the image receptor to within ±3 degrees; and

e. Neither tomographic nor stereoscopic radiography is being performed.

3. Measuring compliance. Compliance with the requirements of subdivision 1 of this subsection shall be determined when the equipment indicates that the beam axis is perpendicular to the plane of the image receptor and the provisions of subdivision 2 of this subsection are met. Compliance shall be determined no sooner than five seconds after insertion of the image receptor.

4. Operator initiated undersizing. The PBL system shall be capable of operating such that, at the discretion of the operator, the size of the field may be made smaller than the size of the image receptor through stepless adjustment of the field size. Each dimension of the minimum field size at an SID of 100 cm shall be equal to or less than five cm. Return to PBL function as described in subdivision 1 of this subsection shall occur automatically upon any change of image receptor size or SID.

5. Override of PBL. A capability may be provided for overriding PBL in case of system failure and for servicing the system. This override may be for all SIDs and image receptor sizes. A key shall be required for any override capability that is accessible to the operator. It shall not be possible to remove the key while PBL is overridden. Each such key switch or key shall be clearly and durably labeled as follows:

"For X-Ray Field Limitation System Failure"

The override capability is considered accessible to the operator if it is referenced in the operator's manual or in other material intended for the operator or if its location is such that the operator would consider it part of the operational controls.

H. Field limitation and alignment for spot-film devices. The following requirements shall apply to spot-film devices, except when the spot-film device is provided for use with a radiation therapy simulation system:

1. Means shall be provided between the source and the patient for adjustment of the x-ray field size in the plane of the image receptor to the size of that portion of the image receptor that has been selected on the spot-film selector. Such adjustment shall be accomplished automatically when the x-ray field size in the plane of the image receptor is greater than the selected portion of the image receptor. If the x-ray field size is less than the size of the selected portion of the image receptor, the field size shall not open automatically to the size of the selected portion of the image receptor unless the operator has selected that mode of operation.

2. Neither the length nor width of the x-ray field in the plane of the image receptor shall differ from the corresponding dimensions of the selected portion of the image receptor by more than 3.0% of the SID when adjusted for full coverage of the selected portion of the image receptor. The sum, without regard to sign, of the length and width differences shall not exceed 4.0% of the SID. On spot film devices manufactured after February 25, 1978, if the angle between the plane of the image receptor and beam axis is variable, means shall be provided to indicate when the axis of the x-ray beam is perpendicular to the plane of the image receptor, and compliance shall be determined with the beam axis indicated to be perpendicular to the plane of the image receptor.

3. The center of the x-ray field in the plane of the image receptor shall be aligned with the center of the selected portion of the image receptor to within 2.0% of the SID.

4. Means shall be provided to reduce the x-ray field size in the plane of the image receptor to a size smaller than the selected portion of the image receptor such that:

a. For spot-film devices used on fixed-SID fluoroscopic systems that are not required to and do not provide stepless adjustment of the x-ray field, the minimum field size, at the greatest SID, does not exceed 125 square cm; or

b. For spot-film devices used on fluoroscopic systems that have a variable SID or stepless adjustment of the field size, the minimum field size, at the greatest SID, shall be containable in a square of five cm by five cm.

5. A capability may be provided for overriding the automatic x-ray field size adjustment in case of system failure. If it is so provided, a signal visible at the fluoroscopist's position shall indicate whenever the automatic x-ray field size adjustment override is engaged. Each such system failure override switch shall be clearly labeled as follows:

"For X-ray Field Limitation System Failure"

I. Source-skin distance.

1. X-ray systems designed for use with an intraoral image receptor shall be provided with means to limit the source-skin distance to not less than:

a. 18 cm if operable above 50 kVp; or

b. 10 cm if not operable above 50 kVp.

2. Mobile and portable x-ray systems other than dental shall be provided with means to limit the source-skin distance to not less than 30 cm.

J. Beam-on indicators. The x-ray control shall provide visual indication whenever x-rays are produced. In addition, a signal audible to the operator shall indicate that the exposure has terminated.

K. (Reserved.)

L. Radiation from capacitor energy storage equipment. Radiation emitted from the x-ray tube shall not exceed:

1. An air kerma of 0.26 microGy (0.03 mR exposure) in one minute at five cm from any accessible surface of the diagnostic source assembly, with the beam-limiting device fully open, the system fully charged, and the exposure switch, timer, or any discharge mechanism not activated. Compliance shall be determined by measurements averaged over an area of 100 square cm, with no linear dimensions greater than 20 cm: and

2. An air kerma of 0.88 mGy (100 mR exposure) in one hour at 100 cm from the x-ray source, with beam-limiting device fully open, when the system is discharged through the x-ray tube either manually or automatically by use of a discharge switch or deactivation of the input power. Compliance shall be determined by measurements of the maximum air kerma per discharge multiplied by the total number of discharges in one hour (duty cycle). The measurements shall be averaged over an area of 100 square cm with no linear dimension greater than 20 cm.

M. Primary protective barrier for mammography x-ray systems.

1. For x-ray systems manufactured after September 5, 1978, and before September 30, 1999, which are designed only for mammography, the transmission of the primary beam through any image receptor support provided with the system shall be limited such that the air kerma five cm from any accessible surface beyond the plane of the image receptor supporting device does not exceed 0.88 microGy (0.1 mR exposure) for each activation of the tube.

2. For mammographic x-ray systems manufactured on or after September 30, 1999:

a. At any SID where exposures can be made, the image receptor support device shall provide a primary protective barrier that intercepts the cross section of the useful beam along every direction except at the chest wall edge.

b. The x-ray system shall not permit exposure unless the appropriate barrier is in place to intercept the useful beam as required in subdivision 2 a of this subdivision.

c. The transmission of the useful beam through the primary protective barrier shall be limited such that the air kerma five cm from any accessible surface beyond the plane of the primary protective barrier does not exceed 0.88 microGy (0.1 mR exposure) for each activation of the tube.

3. Compliance with the requirements of subdivisions 1 and 2 c of this subsection for transmission shall be determined with the x-ray system operated at the minimum SID for which it is designed, at maximum rated peak tube potential, at the maximum rated product of x-ray tube current and exposure time (mAs) for the maximum rated peak tube potential, and by measurements averaged over an area of 100 square cm with no linear dimension greater than 20 cm. The sensitive volume of the radiation measuring instrument shall not be positioned beyond the edge of the primary protective barrier along the chest wall side.

N. (Reserved.)

O. Beam limitation, except mammographic systems. The useful beam shall be limited to the area of clinical interest. This shall be deemed to have been met if a positive beam-limiting device meeting manufacturer's specifications and the requirements of subsection G of this section have been properly used or if evidence of collimation is shown on at least three sides or three corners of the film, for example, projections from the shutters of the collimator, cone cutting at the corners, or borders at the film's edge.

P. Radiation exposure control.

1. Exposure initiation. Means shall be provided to initiate the radiation exposure by a deliberate action on the part of the operator, such as the depression of a switch. Radiation exposure shall not be initiated without such an action. In addition, it shall not be possible to initiate an exposure when the timer is set to a "zero" or "off" position if either position is provided.

2. Exposure indication. Means shall be provided for visual indication observable at or from the operator's protected position whenever x-rays are produced. In addition, a signal audible to the operator shall indicate that the exposure has terminated.

3. Operator protection, except veterinary systems.

a. Stationary systems. Stationary x-ray systems shall be required to have the x-ray control permanently mounted in a protected area so that the operator may remain in that protected area during the entire exposure. For dental intraoral systems installed prior to September 20, 2006, if the x-ray control is not permanently mounted behind a protected barrier, then dosimetry is required by all operators of the system.

b. Mobile and portable systems. Mobile and portable x-ray systems that are:

(1) Used continuously for greater than one week in the same location, that is, a room or suite, shall meet the requirements of subdivision 3 a of this subsection;

(2) Used for less than one week at the same location shall be provided with either a protective barrier at least two meters (6.5 feet) high for operator protection during exposures, or means shall be provided to allow the operator to be at least 2.7 meters (nine feet) from the tube housing assembly during the exposure.

4. Operator protection for veterinary systems. All stationary, mobile or portable x-ray systems used for veterinary work shall be provided with either a two meter (6.5 feet) high protective barrier for operator protection during exposures, or shall be provided with means to allow the operator to be at least 2.7 meters (nine feet) from the tube housing assembly during exposures.

Q. Tube stands for portable x-ray systems. A tube stand or other mechanical support shall be used for portable x-ray systems, so that the x-ray tube housing assembly need not be hand-held during exposures.

R. Surveys. Radiation safety and equipment performance surveys shall be performed annually on all x-ray machines covered by this section in order to assure compliance with the regulations, except that bone densitometers, hand-held units, and x-ray machines other than head CT or cone beam units used in the practice of podiatry, dentistry, or veterinary medicine shall be surveyed every three years. The surveys shall be performed by or under the direct supervision of a private or state inspector who is physically present at the facility during the inspection.

Statutory Authority

§ 32.1-229 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Volume 31, Issue 24, eff. August 27, 2015.

Website addresses provided in the Virginia Administrative Code to documents incorporated by reference are for the reader's convenience only, may not necessarily be active or current, and should not be relied upon. To ensure the information incorporated by reference is accurate, the reader is encouraged to use the source document described in the regulation.

As a service to the public, the Virginia Administrative Code is provided online by the Virginia General Assembly. We are unable to answer legal questions or respond to requests for legal advice, including application of law to specific fact. To understand and protect your legal rights, you should consult an attorney.