Risk Assessments for Radon

Radon is a colourless, odourless, tasteless radioactive gas. It is naturally occurring as an indirect decay product of uranium or thorium, which are found in the rocks and soils in the UK. The radon level in the air we breath outside is very low, but can be higher in enclosed spaces. High radon concentrations  increase the risk of developing lung cancer.

Employers are required to carry out a radiation risk assessments on the sources of ioniosing radiation to be used, or likely to be present. The accumulation of radon in the working environment needs to be considered.

To check whether workplace(s) are in an area of high radon concentration, the interactive map on the UK radon website (https://www.ukradon.org/) can be used to undertake a postcode search. The  search will give the probability of an address within that area being above 200 Bq.m-3, which is a recommended action level for domestic properties.

IRS provide a document to enable employers to evidence they have undertaken an initial radon assessment, and subsequent recommendations have been followed thereafter. The pathway/recommendatios will be one of the following:

The postcode search has indicated the address is either:

1. In the lowest band of radon potential, where <1% of homes are above the action level. No work is undertaken in a basement. No further action is necessary.

2. In a band of maximum radiation potential >1%. Therefore, an address-specific report has been obtained from UKRadon.org.

The property was deemed:

NOT in a radon affected area, and:

  • Work is NOT undertaken in a basement (more than 50 hours/week) – no further action is necessary, or;
  • At least 50 hours/week work is undertaken in a basement – radon monitoring of the basement is recommended.

IN a radiation affected area – a radon monitoring pack to be requested.

The outcome of the monitoring was that:

  • The radon concetration is <300 Bq.m-3
  • The radon concentration is ≥300 Bq.m-3. Work being undertaken in an atmosphere containing radon-222 gas at an average annual concentration in air exceeding 300 Bq.m-3 requires notification to HSE under Ionising Radiation Regulations 2017 Reg. 5. The link below link can be used to notify HSE. An RPA has been consulted and will provide further advice. https://www.hse.gov.uk/radiation/ionising/notify.htm

The HSE have set an action level at an annual average concentration in air exceeding 300 Bq.m-3 (Regulation 3(1)(b-c). Where the annual concentration exceeds this action level, the HSE must be notified under IRR17 regulation 5. The link below link can be used to notify HSE.