Doc menu

2. Defining areas of responsibility

Further details on the following roles and the required knowledge and training can be found in Safety Guidelines for Magnetic Resonance Equipment in Clinical Use.2

2.1 Responsible person

The MR responsible person:

  • has day to day responsibility for safety in the MRI centre
  • is required to have  sufficient MR clinical expertise and safety knowledge (or experience relevant to the nature of the department eg research scanning) to ensure that appropriate levels of MR safety and training are delivered and updated to relevant staff
  • is delegated as responsible person by Chief Executive or General Manager
  • may effectively be Clinical Director, Head of Department but more usually an Advanced Practitioner / Consultant Radiographer or practitioner in a management role in the MRI department
  • should not take on the role of an MRI safety expert 2 see 2.2.
  • The MHRA2 advises it may be appropriate to have an MR responsible person for each MR system within an organisation.

Duties include:

  • ensuring adequate written safety procedures, ethical approvals, work instructions, emergency procedures  ( local rules) are issued to all concerned  in consultation with the MRI safety expert
  • approving certification of authorized persons
  • producing and issuing written safety documents  ensuring that they are version controlled and regularly updated.

Note: this is not an exhaustive list of duties; please refer to Safety Guidelines for Magnetic Resonance Equipment in Clinical Use2 for further details.

2.2 MR safety expert

The MR safety expert:

  • was previously known as the MR safety advisor
  • provides scientific advice to MR units
  • requires expert knowledge of the physical principles of  MRI and detailed knowledge of MRI techniques
  • is usually a physicist registered with the HCPC.

Please refer to MHRA Safety Guidelines for Magnetic Resonance Equipment in Clinical Use2 for further details on the duties of an MR safety expert.

The Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine (IPEM) published a policy statement5 outlining the role of the MR safety expert. It is the intention of IPEM that MR safety experts are accredited. A working party including representatives from SCoR, and BAMRR is currently defining the required knowledge and competencies and proposed routes of accreditation of this role.

The policy statement with further information can be viewed online at:

Note: this role could be undertaken by a suitably qualified radiographer. Further information will be issued as an addendum to this publication.

2.3 Authorised person

The authorised person is a suitably trained member of staff authorised to have access to the MR Controlled Access area and also, depending on their role, access to the MR environment (see section 5). All authorised persons must:

  • be certified by the MR responsible person when they have completed satisfactory training
  • be listed on a certified list
  • keep an appropriate record of their MR training. An annual screening of all authorised persons is to be kept by the responsible person
  • complete and pass a screening questionnaire annually
  •  satisfy themselves at all times that they conform to the requirements of the screening process.

The MHRA2 defines access and supervision rights of MR authorised personnel as follows:




( Scan Room)

MR CONTROLLED ACCESS AREA outside MR environment

Authorised person Non MR environment

eg Clerical staff, management staff, radiologists without formal safety training

May not enter without supervision

May enter and supervise

Authorised person MR environment

eg Supporting clinical staff, junior researchers

May enter

May enter and supervise

Authorised person - supervisor

eg Radiographer, researcher with appropriate training

May enter and supervise

May enter and supervise


  •   Access to all other persons including patients, visitors and unauthorised staff should only be granted if accompanied by an authorised person, and following appropriate screening processes.

2.4 MR operator

The MR operator is:

  • an authorised person deemed to have sufficient experience and appropriate training and is responsible for operating the scanner in a safe and appropriate manner
  • responsible for the safety of patients, volunteers (and accompanying carers) who are undergoing MRI at all times
  • responsible for ensuring that any equipment taken into the MR environment for the examination is suitable.

2.5 Defining categories of staff

All staff required to enter the MR controlled access area and the MR environment to carry out their duties will require training relating to the safety aspects of MRI. The level and depth of this training will differ according to the role of the staff member.

Further information on training requirements can be viewed in section 4.17.1 in Guidelines for Magnetic Resonance Equipment in Clinical Use.2

See also section 4.1.2 of this document

MHRA2 has defined the following categories of staff. Please refer to MHRA guidance for further details. 

Category (A): MR OPERATOR - those wishing to operate, maintain or modify the MRI equipment such as radiographers, radiologists, service engineers 
Category (B): Personnel who do not fall into category (A) but are present with a volunteer or patient during scanning such as radiologists, anaesthetists and nurses
Category (C): All staff who are required to enter the MR ENVIRONMENT when scanning is not taking place eg dedicated cleaning staff, estate maintenance staff
Category (D): All other staff who are required to enter the MR CONTROLLED ACCESS AREA but will not enter the MR ENVIRONMENT eg clerical staff.

Content tools

Accessibility controls

Text size