Objective To understand the occupational exposure to non-ionising radiation in physiotherapy workplaces.
Methods An investigation was conducted in 16 physiotherapy agencies used non-ionising radiation physiotherapy instruments. The ultra-high-frequency radiation, high-frequency radiation and microwave were measured in the points of the head, chest and abdomen. The laser was measured on skin.
Results The intensity of ultra-high-frequency radiation produced by 17 ultra-short wave therapeutic apparatus were 0.001~0.306 (median=0.085)mW/cm2, 0.008~4.225 (median=0.102)mW/cm2 and 0.011~2.701 (median=0.292)mW/cm2 in the point of the head, chest and abdomen, and 70.6%, 47.1% and 17.64% meet the occupational exposure limits (OELs) respectively. The high-frequency radiation in the point of chest (26.7 V/m) and abdomen (40.8 V/m) produced by 1 of the 4 high frequency thermotherapy instruments respectively exceed the OELs. The microwave (0.001~4.668 mW/cm2) of 18 microwave therapeutic apparatus meets the OELs in all points mentioned above. The laser of 12 laser therapeutic apparatus were <0.01×10–4~0.13×10–4 W/cm2 in wavelength range 400~1400 nm on the skin, all of them meeting the OELs.
Conclusion The physical therapists are exposed to occupational hazard factors such as ultra-high-frequency radiation, high-frequency radiation, microwave and laser in the workplace. The ultra-high-frequency radiation and high-frequency radiation that exceed the OELs in some measurement points indicate the risks currently in physiotherapy workplaces. It is necessary to take steps to protect the physical therapists, such as separating the offices of physical therapist from the treatment areas, installing protective facilities in the workplace, and using PPE where necessary.
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