Mobile Radiation Barriers in Healthcare Settings

May 22, 2024

nurse standing behind AliMed mobile barrierThe use of radiation for medical imaging is incredibly beneficial for diagnosing and treating various medical conditions. They also come with potential risks associated with radiation exposure. This is where mobile protective barriers play a crucial role in ensuring the safety of healthcare professionals. In this article, we will explore the importance of mobile protective barriers, the materials that protect against radiation, primary protective barriers for radiation, and the recommended lead equivalence for mobile protective barriers.  

What is a Mobile Protective Barrier for Radiation?

Mobile protective barriers are portable shields designed to block or reduce exposure to scatter radiation during medical procedures involving X-rays. This is particularly crucial in environments such as radiology departments, operating rooms, and interventional suites where fluoroscopic and radiographic procedures are performed. These barriers can be easily moved around medical facilities to provide protection wherever it is needed most and are typically equipped with leaded glass viewing windows, allowing healthcare professionals to monitor procedures while remaining protected from harmful radiation.

What Are the Primary Protective Barriers Against Radiation?

Primary protective barriers for radiation are designed to minimize scatter radiation and shield individuals from direct exposure during medical procedures involving X-rays. Radiation protection relies on primary barriers, secondary barriers, and personal protective equipment.  

  • Primary Barriers are structural elements designed to absorb the primary radiation beam. Walls and floors adjacent to radiation-producing equipment often incorporate lead or other dense materials to provide this protection. 
  • Secondary Barriers protect against scattered and secondary radiation. They include protective screens and barriers that are strategically placed to shield areas not directly in the path of the primary beam. 
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) includes aprons, thyroid shields, eyewear, and gloves worn by healthcare workers to protect against radiation exposure during procedures.

What Materials Protect Against Radiation?

Lead is one of the most effective materials used to protect against radiation due to its high density and ability to absorb and scatter ionizing radiation. Leaded glass, lead acrylic, and lead shields are commonly used in the construction of mobile protective barriers to ensure maximum protection against radiation exposure. Materials such as bismuth, tungsten, and tin are also used to create protective gear, offering alternatives to mobile leaded barriers.

What Is the Recommended Lead Equivalence for Mobile Protective Barrier?

The recommended lead equivalence for mobile protective barriers is typically 0.5 mm or higher to ensure adequate protection against scatter radiation. This level of lead equivalency offers sufficient shielding without compromising visibility through viewing windows or impeding mobility when moving the barrier around medical facilities. It is important for healthcare professionals to verify that mobile protective barriers meet industry standards for radiation protection before use.  

Mobile protective barriers play a critical role in ensuring the safety of healthcare professionals during medical procedures involving X-rays. By understanding the importance of these barriers, knowing which materials provide effective protection against radiation, identifying primary protective barriers for radiation, and adhering to recommended lead equivalencies, healthcare facilities can create a safe environment for all individuals involved in diagnostic imaging.

Ready to learn more? Explore our additional resources on radiation protection for both staff and patients:  


AliMed, Inc. is a manufacturer and distributor of medical supply products, and is not a medical authority. The contents contained in this article, including text, graphics, imagery, and other materials, are for informational and educational purposes only. AliMed does not provide or intend to provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and the information contained here should not be treated as such. If you have questions about a specific medical condition or specific personal use of a medical device, always consult your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.

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