FIFE Council was rapped by the Health and Safety Executive over a high school's use of "ionising radiation".

A formal improvement notice, stating that action must be taken within a strict deadline, was issued after the "use of chemicals" in a science class.

HR service manager Barbara Cooper told councillors: "The HSE have, from time to time, various campaigns so this was a national campaign that they were checking up on education facilities, including universities, where there was radiation in use."

Head of education and children's services, Shelagh McLean, added: "This particular notice related to one school that was part of the programme that Barbara identified and it's about the use of chemicals used within science and part of the curriculum.

Central Fife Times: Fife Council were issued with an improvement notice over the use of 'ionising radiation' in a high school.Fife Council were issued with an improvement notice over the use of 'ionising radiation' in a high school. (Image: Newsquest)

"It was one school, we therefore carried out checks at the other 17 secondary schools and there wasn't contravention.

"We've responded to the issue with the one school and we've made sure we've got processes and procedures in place across all 18 high schools to ensure we won't contravene in the future."

The high school was not named and the enforcement notice was issued in March.

The details were contained in the council's annual health and safety report for 2022-23 which was presented to the finance, economy and corporate services scrutiny committee last week.

With such notices, the HSE issue specific objectives and can revisit to check everything is up to date.

Examples of ionising radiation, which carries more energy than non-ionising radiation, includes electromagnetic rays such as x-rays and gamma rays.

It also occurs naturally, from the radioactive decay of natural radioactive substances such as radon gas, but can also be produced artificially.

The World Health Organisation say low doses can increase the risk of longer term effects such as cancer.

The HSE said: "Ionising radiation has many uses in industry, such as energy production, manufacturing, medicine and research and produces many benefits to society.

"However, it is important that the risks of ionising radiation are managed sensibly to protect workers and the public."

The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) issue guidance that states: "Children and young people in any class with children under the age of 16 must not be allowed to undertake experiments with ionising radiation.

"In these circumstances experiments shall be by demonstration by the class teacher only."