What are the consequences if you do not comply with the HARP?

Running a successful dental office requires a lot of effort as it is not only about providing better services, running marketing campaigns on the best platform, and using high-end devices, but it is also about complying with the rules and regulations. 

Dental offices might have a lot of high-tech equipment on their premises, but there is a list of machines used in almost all dental offices. This list includes- intraoral x-ray systems, elaborate 3D imaging machines, and C.T. scanners. Well, there is something common in all these machines; they all are radiographic-based equipment. 

In Ontario, every type of radiographic machine used by medical practitioners is governed by Healing Arts Radiation Protection Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. 2, also known as HARP. As a dental practitioner, you might not be interested in reading the clauses, sections, and exemptions of the law, but HARP is one of those acts that must be on your list. 

The HARP act is entirely administered by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, and it doesn’t matter which type of services you are offering; if you use any radiographic machine, then HARP applies to you. 

The effects of HARP on radiographic machine owners 

If you are an owner of a radiographic machine, then you must submit or resubmit a proper application for approval in case you are;

  • Buying a new or used x-ray machine
  • Changing the location of your existing x-ray machine 
  • Getting rid of the existing x-ray machine with a new one

The application sent to the government body must include the entire floor plan along with schematics. In addition to this, the application must consist of the designated person who needs to act as a radiation protection officer. This person needs to be assigned by the owner of the x-ray machine. 

The radiation protection officer or R.P.O. is responsible for maintaining and building quality tests and procedures for operating the equipment safely. This means it is the job of the R.P.O. to make sure the equipment is maintained correctly and meets all the standards as per the specifications of HARP. In addition to this, the R.P.O. should also ensure that the x-ray machine operator is qualified to operate the machine as per the specifications of HARP. 

If you are unsure whether you meet the HARP standards or not, you can go for HARP testing in Ontario instead of suffering penalties. There are many registered third-party companies providing HARP testing in Ontario at economical prices, and you can choose any one of them according to your research. 

All the dental offices in Ontario go through regular quality testing conducted by an approved inspector. This is done on an annual basis and upon the changing and servicing of the machine. But this doesn’t mean you can skip quality testing and put it on your monthly or yearly to-do list. An R.P.O. should conduct quality testing of the machines every working day. 

What if you don’t comply with HARP?

The inspector appointed by the Ministry or the Director of the Ministry can take actions to make sure that you comply with all the regulations mentioned in HARP and the x-ray machine being used by you is entirely safe to operate. 

According to Section 24, not complying with the provisions of HARP is considered a legal offense and is often punishable by imprisonment or fine. If you have been found to not comply with the provisions of HARP for the first time, then you will be held responsible for it, and the penalty for this offense is a $25,000 fine or/and 12 months of imprisonment. 

But if you have been found guilty of not complying with the provisions of HARP several times in the past, you will be fined a penalty of $50,000 or/and 12 months of imprisonment. The entire office can be fined anything between $50,000 to $200,00 in the case of subsequent offenses. 

So, instead of paying a fine of $50,000 or/and spending a whole year in jail, you should opt for HARP testing Ontario and check whether your operation, maintenance, and quality testing are up to the mark or not. 

You should also know that the X-Ray Inspection Service, also known as XRIS (a branch of Ministry), deals with all the applications under HARP. 

While using an X-ray machine, you are dealing with your patients’ lives; therefore, you should take proper measures and lay down strict guidelines for the use, maintenance, and quality testing of the machine. 

It is always a better idea to gather more information about HARP and comply with all the quality and maintenance standards as per the act.