Inspections at 25 dredging companies showed that these companies need to do more to protect workers against the dangers of radiation. The Dutch Inspectorate SZW found 34 violations, some of which already came to light during previous inspections.

For example, risk inventories and assessments do not meet the requirements and maintaining the expertise of employees is still not in order.

Radiation risks

On dredgers and sand dredgers, strong pumps suck up sand, clay, sludge and gravel from the seabed. During this work, measurements are carried out with radioactive sources. If used incorrectly, the radiation risks from these strong sources are high. That is why it is important that employers properly identify the risks and take measures to protect the health of their employees. For example, by ensuring that the expertise of staff is maintained.


The dredging companies score poorly on these points. The Inspectorate SZW, which is tasked with inspecting working conditions, criticised nine companies for failing to provide proper or complete information on the radiation risks. Six companies received a warning because the knowledge of specialist staff was insufficient. These employees who supervise the use of the radiation sources did not have their refresher training in order.

Total number of violations reduced

Despite these violations, the Inspectorate SZW does see positive developments compared to inspection results six years ago. For example, the total number of violations detected has been halved and permits are now in order. No situations were found that posed an immediate danger to employees. The Inspectorate has issued warnings for the violations found. Companies will have to work on solving shortcomings in the coming period.

Picture by Steve Austin.