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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: WHAT IS NORM?

NORM is an acronym for Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials (NORM), which include radioactive elements found in the environment. Long-lived radioactive elements of interest include uranium, thorium and potassium, and any of their radioactive decay products, such as radium and radon. These elements have always been present in the earth's crust and within the tissues of all living beings.

Although the concentration of NORM in most natural substances is low, higher concentrations may arise as the result of human activities. The processing of raw materials by many resource-based industries may increase the concentration of radioactive substances in those materials, to levels at which special precautions are needed for handling, storing, transporting, and disposing of material, by-products, end-products, or process equipment.

Canadian Guidelines for the Management of Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials (NORM). Health Canada. 2011

Q: WHAT INDUSTRIES HAVE NORM?

There are certain industries that are prone to concentrating NORM. These industries include:

  • Mineral Extraction and Processing
  • Oil and Gas Production
  • Metal Recycling
  • Forest Products and Thermal-Electric Production
  • Water Treatment Facilities
  • Tunneling and Underground Workings

Q: WHY DO I NEED NORM TRAINING?

Canadian provincial Radiation Protection Acts and Occupational Health and Safety stipulate that employers must ensure workers are informed of potential hazards, which includes exposure to NORM. Employers must identify: worker responsibilities, the type of radiation exposure, protection principles, detection devices and limitations, as well as associated NORM health hazards.

NORM prone industries may require the application of radiation protection practices to reduce radiation doses and exposures to workers. If you work or are involved in any of these industries, you may be exposed to NORM. It is important that you learn to work safely with NORM and are aware of the risks and hazards.