During 1993 Wes Nichols approached Byron McKavanagh to see if there was any industry organisation/group that catered for Radiation Safety Officers (RSO) in Queensland. Australasian Radiation Protection Society existed, though it was more for industry professionals, government and academia across all disciplines (industrial, medical, etc.). There simply wasn’t a group that specifically addressed information sharing between industrial RSOs. Therefore Byron and Wes decided to instigate the group (originally Radiation Safety Officer User Group – RSOUG) as an interest group on a day forum basis.
The first meeting was held in December 1993 at Central Queensland University (CQU) and was well attended (this indicated that there was a perceived need for such a group amongst industry peers). While CQU has been the main venue over the years, conferences have been held at other places, including Gladstone (QAL’s training facility), Callide Mine and Brisbane (CSIRO QCAT).
There were a couple of hiatuses over the years where there were periods between meetings, electing to hold them on a more if-need basis.
Turning points for the RSUG:
1) the planning & implementation of the Radiation Safety Act 1999 and its pursuant Regulations in 2001. In the planning stages prior to 1999, the group acted as a driver of, and adviser to, individuals who made submissions to Radiation Health and as an advisory group to Radiation Health on behalf of industrial users.
2) the closure of the Queensland Radiation Monitoring Service in 2007. This galvanised the group into action after one of its long hiatuses. This event highlighted the importance of keeping the group active for users and it also highlighted the importance of the group to Radiation Health. RSUG is now recognised as a lobby and advisory group that Radiation Health need to consult with before making decisions that have an impact on industrial users in Queensland.
More recently, the group has become representative of more than just RSOs (other industrial radiation workers, suppliers, government representatives, academics, etc.) and the name changed to the Radiation Safety User Group (RSUG) to reflect this change in inclusivity. Radiation Health’s presence has been in effect from the groups inception and as such, RSUG has always been recognised as a, if not “the”, lobby group for industrial practices by Radiation Health.