In many areas, government regulations require a warning light outside radiological exam rooms to indicate when X-rays are being produced. Most often, these lights are behind a lens with the words "X-RAY IN USE" printed right on it. It's a safety precaution that helps eliminate unnecessary radiation exposure to anyone who may pass through an active X-ray area.
As an X-ray equipment provider, we get plenty of questions about X-ray in use lights. Today, we're going to bring some clarity on the topic with answers to the questions we get most often.
Do I need an X-ray in use light?
Regulations on X-ray in use lights vary from country-to-country and state-to-state. The best way to know what you need is to ask. Contact your local health or radiological department to get the details on what's required in your area.
Who's responsible for my X-ray in use light?
If your local authorities require one, your facility is responsible for both having and using an X-ray in use light. While X-ray in use lights are connected to X-ray machines by equipment providers, ultimately, compliance with the regulation rests with the facility. If your equipment provider hasn't brought up planning for an in use light, be sure to ask them about it yourself.
How do I get an X-ray in use light installed?
Installation of X-ray in use lights is handled by the electrical contractor the facility hires to prepare their space for incoming X-ray equipment. In advance of your X-ray system's installation, as your contractors prepare the space, you will need to confirm with your electrician that a 110 VAC or 24 VAC fixture is in place with two relay wires of sufficient length to reach the intended position of the X-ray generator. For reference, it may be helpful to pass along this example diagram of X-ray in use light wiring (click image to enlarge).
When the X-ray installation team arrives, they will connect what your electrician has installed to the generator of the X-ray system to toggle your in use light on or off as power is applied to or removed from the X-ray tube during patient scans or system QC tests..
The final responsibility for an X-ray in use light rests with the facility in which the light is installed. Contractors and equipment providers will certainly be involved in getting the light operational, but periodic testing and follow-up for maintenance as needed fall to the user. If your facility schedules regular preventive maintenance for your X-ray room, light maintenance is generally included.
All of that said, if your facility has an X-ray installation on the horizon, be sure to ask lots of questions and communicate clearly with your electrician and your X-ray provider on this subject. A reputable X-ray provider will be able to offer guidance and help ensure that your space is fully prepared when the equipment arrives.