Privacy policy

Introduction

The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) is the Commonwealth Government's primary authority on radiation protection and nuclear safety. ARPANSA regulates Commonwealth entities using radiation with the objective of protecting people and the environment from the harmful effects of radiation. ARPANSA also undertakes research, provides services, and promotes national uniformity and the implementation of international best practice across all jurisdictions.

Purpose

Under the Privacy Act 1988 (Privacy Act) ARPANSA is required to have a clear and up to date privacy policy.

This privacy policy outlines the type of personal information we collect, the reason we collect it, how we manage and protect personal information.

Personal information is any information or an opinion about an identified individual or an individual who can be reasonably identified from the information or opinion. Information or an opinion may be personal information regardless of whether it is true.

Scope

This privacy policy applies to personal information collected, used and disclosed by ARPANSA.

Roles and responsibilities

Role

Responsibility

­Privacy Officer

Responsible for ensuring this policy remains up to date and compliant with the Privacy Act.

Privacy Champion

Responsible for raising awareness in relation to this policy.

Chief Executive Officer

Responsible for approving the policy.

ARPANSA staff

Responsible for complying with this policy.

Policy commitment

ARPANSA is committed to protecting personal information in accordance with the Privacy Act which includes the Australian Privacy Principles and the Australian Government Agencies Privacy Code.

Overview

We collect, hold, use and disclose personal information to carry out functions or activities under the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Act 1998, accompanying regulations and for incidental purposes.

These functions and activities include:

  • Providing advice to the government and community on issues related to radiation protection and nuclear safety and exposure to, and effects of, radiation.
  • Licensing and regulating Commonwealth entities to ensure the safety of radiation facilities and sources.
  • Developing codes, standards and guides, and advice to support radiation protection and nuclear safety on a national basis.
  • Provision of services for the purpose of protection against the harmful effects of radiation.
  • Undertaking research and development in relation to radiation, radiation protection and nuclear safety and building strong strategic partnerships with relevant national and international regulatory, academic and research organisations.

For more information on what ARPANSA does, please visit our website.

Collection and use of your personal information

Where practical, ARPANSA collects personal information directly from the individual to whom the information relates, for example by phone, internet or in person. We may also collect personal information about individuals from other people. For example, as part of performing a service for an employer.

Delivering radiation services

Monitoring services

The Personal Radiation Monitoring Service monitors potential ionising radiation exposure to workers in fields such as medical, dental, chiropractic, industrial and mining. The personal information collected as part of providing this service may include names, addresses, contact details, dates of birth, gender, occupation, financial records, occupation radiation dose, and class and dose history.

Hire Service of meters

The Hire of radiation meters includes the hire of magnetic field meters, ionising radiation meters and UV index meters. The personal information collected as part of providing hire services includes names, contact details, driver’s licences for identification purposes and credit card details.  

Testing and calibration

The personal information collected as part of testing and calibration services may include names, addresses and financial information.

Conducting licensing and regulatory activities

ARPANSA regulates and licenses Commonwealth entities using radiation with the objective of protecting people and the environment from the harmful effects of radiation.

The personal information collected as part of licensing and regulating Commonwealth entities includes names of licence applicants, employee names where relevant and information contained in safety and incident reports from licence holders.

ARPANSA keeps track of regulatory and licensing procedures through a Licence Administration Database. Access to this database is restricted to those with a need to know.

ARPANSA also issues import and export permits for the importation into Australia of medical and non-medical radioactive substances and the export of high activity radioactive sources. The personal information collected as part of this process includes names, contact details and credit card details of permit applicants.

Maintaining registers

Australian National Radiation Dose Register

The Australian National Radiation Dose Register (Dose register) is an electronic database that is designed to store and maintain radiation dose records for workers who are occupationally exposed to radiation. The Dose register is maintained and managed by ARPANSA. The data is provided by registered employers in applicable industries on a quarterly basis. The data includes names, dates of birth, gender, employee (payroll) numbers and employee work classifications.

Workers can request a copy of their radiation dose history from ARPANSA.

Access to the Dose Register is restricted to the ARPANSA staff working in this area. The Privacy Statement and Privacy Impact Assessment for the Dose Register is available on ARPANSA’S website.

Australian Electromagnetic Radiation Health Complaints register

ARPANSA maintains an Australian Electromagnetic Radiation Health Complaints Register. The EMR Health Complaints Register collects reports of health concerns related to possible EMR field exposures in the range of 0‑300 GHz.

Members of the public who believe they have suffered ill-effects as a result of exposure to EMR can lodge a written complaint to the EMR Health Complaints Register. The data gathered is used to produce de-identified statistical summaries for the public and the Commonwealth Government on the nature and level of complaints received. 

The personal information collected may include names, addresses, contact details, dates of birth, gender, complaint/symptoms that are believed to result from exposure to electromagnetic radiation.

Access to this personal information is restricted to the ARPANSA staff working in this area.

The Australian Radiation Incident Register

The Australian Radiation Incident Register (ARIR) is Australia's national database of radiation incidents and events. The reports to the ARIR are provided by ARPANSA (for Commonwealth incidents) and state and territory radiation protection authorities.

The ARIR includes the age, gender, date of treatment and hospital/clinic/workplace where the incident occurred. The ARIR does not contain names or Medicare details.

The ARIR is maintained by ARPANSA and access is restricted to a limited number of ARPANSA staff who are responsible for maintaining the register and producing a summary report with de-identified information.

Administrative functions

Personnel records to engage and manage employees and contractors

ARPANSA generally collects personal information directly from employees and job applicants but may also collect personal information from employee’s current and previous supervisors, other employees or intermediaries such as labour hire companies or recruitment agencies.

ARPANSA collects personal information from job applicants via an Application Form which includes name, address, contact details, gender, citizenship and disabilities.

ARPANSA maintains personnel files to manage our business affairs and the employment of staff.

The personal information included on the personnel files includes:

  • employee, referee and emergency contact details
  • applications for employment and supporting documents
  • selection committee reports
  • employment contracts, and other records relating to terms and conditions of employment
  • details of financial and other personal interests supplied by employees and their immediate family members for the purpose of managing perceived or potential conflicts of interest
  • proof of Australian citizenship
  • copies of academic qualifications
  • records relating to attendance, salary, employment benefits and leave
  • medical certificates or health related information supplied by an employee or their medical practitioner
  • taxation details
  • banking information necessary to pay salary and wages
  • superannuation contributions
  • information relating to employees’ training and development
  • information about an employee’s performance
  • trade, skill or aptitude tests.

 ARPANSA may also maintain the following records relating to personnel:

  • records of accidents and injuries
  • compensation case files
  • rehabilitation case files
  • records relating to counselling and discipline matters, including disciplinary, investigation and action
  • files, legal action files, records of criminal convictions, and any other staff and establishment records as appropriate
  • complaints and grievances
  • recommendations for honours and awards.

Access to this information is restricted to those on a need to know basis.

Committee administration        

ARPANSA administers a number of Committees including:

  • Radiation Health and Safety Advisory Council
  • Radiation Health Committee
  • Nuclear Safety Committee.

The personal information collected as part of administering these Committees includes personal information about external committee members for security clearance and communication purposes. This includes names, addresses, dates of birth and nationality.

Visitors

ARPANSA maintains a paper and electronic register for visitors. The personal information collected includes names and driver’s licence number details.

Talk to a Scientist

ARPANSA provides an opportunity for the public to talk directly with ARPANSA’s scientists, via telephone or email, on issues about radiation exposure and protection in Australia. As part of delivering this service ARPANSA may collect names, locations and phone numbers. The information collected is recorded on ARPANSA’s record management system alongside a record of the phone conversation or email.

Freedom of Information

If an individual seeks personal information via the Freedom of Information Act or the Privacy Act we may ask for proof of identity.

Members of the public

ARPANSA collects personal information of members of the public if they:

  • Request information
  • Ask to be put on a mailing list
  • Make submissions.

Members of the public can interact with us anonymously where it is lawful and practicable.

Via our website and social media channels

Online enquiries

ARPANSA’s website has an on-line ‘contact us’ form which is used for public enquiries. We will only use email addresses provided to respond where appropriate and will not add them to a mailing list.

Cookies

ARPANSA uses a 'cookie' for maintaining contact with a user through a website session. A cookie is a small file supplied by ARPANSA and stored by the web browser software on the user’s computer or mobile device when they access the ARPANSA site. The cookie allows ARPANSA to recognise website visitors as individuals as they move from one page to another.

All cookies related to an individual’s movement through our website will be immediately lost when they end their internet session and shut down their computer. Our copy of this information will be automatically deleted twenty minutes after the user last used the system. This information is only used to help visitors use our website systems more efficiently, not to track their movements through the internet, or to record private information about them.

Any system on our website that records information about individuals will specifically ask the individual’s permission first.

ARPANSA makes a record of each site visit and logs the following information for statistical purposes:

  • the user's server address;
  • the user's top level domain name;
  • the date and time of access to the site;
  • pages accessed and documents downloaded; and
  • the previous site visited.

This information is analysed to show broken links in our website, bottlenecks, and other site problems. We use this information to redesign the site for efficiency of use.

No attempt will be made to identify anonymous users or their browsing activities unless legally compelled to do so, such as in the event of an investigation, where a law enforcement agency may exercise a warrant to inspect our web server log files.

ARPANSA also uses cookies as part of the functionality of its ultraviolet (UV) radiation index charts. This cookie allows the user to set a default location for the UV chart by selecting 'Make this my location'. This cookie will remain on the user’s computer or mobile device until they select 'Clear my location'. This cookie is only used to help the user enjoy the full functionality of the UV charts and is not used to track movements through the internet, or to record personal information.

Social media

ARPANSA has various social media channels (such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube). The Terms of Use for these channels are available on ARPANSA’s website and are in addition to the Terms of Use imposed by the social media platforms which host these channels.

ARPANSA is not responsible, nor is it liable for; and does not endorse; the privacy practices of social media platforms that host ARPANSA’s social media channels (such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube) or any linked websites.

ARPANSA records all information posted to the ARPANSA’s social media channels; and uses that information for the purposes of administering those channels; as well as considering and/or addressing any comments made. Users are encouraged to protect their privacy and that of others by limiting the amount of personal information contained in the posts.

ARPANSA does not make any attempt to identify individuals except where authorised or required by law.

Conducting research

ARPANSA conducts various radiation surveys and studies such as a survey of power frequency magnetic fields in randomly selected homes in metropolitan Melbourne and a survey of Radon in Homes in Western Australia. The personal information collected as part of these surveys may include names, addresses, and perceptions about health effects.

ARPANSA also carried out a Maralinga Veterans Dosimetry study which measured the occupational exposure of workers in the Maralinga region following nuclear testing. The personal information collected as part of this study included addresses, contact details, dates of birth, gender, radiation dose, medical information, names of relatives and employment information.

Collecting sensitive information

Sometimes we may need to collect sensitive information about an individual, for example, to conduct a security assessment, maintain staff records or to record details in the EMR Complaints register.

The Privacy Act provides additional safeguards for the collection and use of sensitive information. Sensitive information is defined in the Privacy Act to include information about a person’s health, racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, association memberships, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, criminal history, genetic or biometric information.

Indirect collection

In the course of carrying out our functions we may also collect personal information about individuals from third parties, such as employers. For example, in maintaining the Australian National Radiation Dose Register we collect information about workers from employers.

Anonymity

Where possible, we will allow an individual to interact with us anonymously or by using a pseudonym. For example, if contacting our Talk to a Scientist line with a general question we will not ask for a name unless we need it to adequately handle the question.

Disclosure

In general, we will use and disclose personal information for the particular purpose for which it was collected, for example, to supply a service.

Sometimes we may use and disclose personal information for purposes that are related to the primary purpose for collection, such as statistical reporting.

We may also use personal information for a purpose related to the purpose of collection, where the individual to whom the information relates would reasonably expect that the information would be used for this other purpose.

When we collect personal information for certain specific activities, where required, we will use a collection notice that specifically deals with that collection.

We may also use or disclose personal information for another purpose permitted by the Privacy Act and the Australian Privacy Principles.

We will not use or disclose sensitive information for a secondary purpose unless the individual to whom the information relates would reasonably expect it to be used for this purpose and the secondary purpose is directly related to the purpose for which it was collect or with the individual’s consent.

Disclosure of personal information overseas

We may disclose personal information overseas from time to time. Where we may be transferring personal information overseas, we will either inform the individual to whom the information relates and seek their consent to the arrangement or require that appropriate contractual measures are in place to ensure that the overseas entity protects the personal information to the same level as required of ARPANSA under the Privacy Act.

Storage and security of personal information

ARPANSA is committed to protecting and securing the personal information it holds. It uses a range of physical and security measures to protect the personal information it holds from misuse, interference, loss, and from unauthorised access, modification or disclosure.

Accessing and correcting your personal information

Individuals have a right to request access to their personal information and to request its amendment or correction.

Upon receiving a request we will provide access to the personal information or take reasonable steps to amend or correct it to ensure that it is accurate, up-to-date, complete, and relevant and not misleading, subject to any applicable exceptions under the Privacy Act.

To access or amend personal information contact the Privacy Officer via the options below:

  • Mailing Address:
    PO Box 655
    Miranda NSW 1490, Australia
  • Email address: privacyatarpansa.gov.au
  • Telephone: (02) 9541 8311

How to make a complaint

An individual dissatisfied with how we have handled their personal information may complain in writing using the above contact details.

If we receive a complaint about how we have handled personal information we will determine what (if any) action we should take to resolve the complaint.

An individual not satisfied with our response may complain to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner.

Questions or comments

If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please contact us at privacyatarpansa.gov.au