From radon monitoring to full management systems, Aurora supports its clients in achieving regulatory compliance and protecting their employees with respect to radon gas.
If you require support with radon, get in touch with Aurora’s Radiation Protection Advisers now.
What is Radon?
Radon-222 (radon) is a natural radioactive gas which is formed during the decay of uranium which occurs naturally in the ground. Being a gas, radon is able to permeate up through the ground and enter our homes and workplaces. Radon can concentrate in these indoor spaces and build up to significant levels.
When radon is inhaled some of the radioactive gas will decay within our lungs resulting in radon decay products becoming trapped in our lungs. These decay products continue to emit ionising radiation and will expose our lungs to further radiation doses.
Radon gas is the second largest cause of lung cancer, responsible for over 1,100 lung cancer deaths per year in the UK.
What does the law say?
Under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 (MHSWR) employers are required to assess risks to health and safety, and this should include an assessment of the risk from radon. Employers should typically undertake radon monitoring where:
- Their premises are located in a radon affected area (an area with a maximum radon potential exceeding 1% according to the UKradon map).
- They undertake work in a below ground area (e.g. basements, cellars, mines, caves, tunnels, etc.) for greater than an average of one hour per week, irrespective of the above ground Affected Areas status.
- There are other specific risk factors such as work with uranium ores, or around open water sources.
Where monitoring is required then there are different options depending on the situation. Long term passive monitoring is the standard approach for radon monitoring and involves placing small detectors for a few months before they are sent to a laboratory for analysis. Alternatively, active monitoring using electronic detectors may be appropriate in some situations and can give more detailed information about the changes in radon concentrations with time.
Where monitoring has been undertaken and the results show the presence of radon gas at an annual average concentration in air exceeding 300 Bq/m3 (becquerels per cubic metre) then the Ionising Radiations Regulations 2017 (IRR17) will apply to any work undertaken in that area. IRR17 requires the employer to consult with a suitable Radiation Protection Adviser (RPA). The RPA will be able to provide advice on compliance with IRR17 and support with the production of a radiation risk assessment.
How can we help you?
Aurora’s experienced team of Radiation Protection Advisers (RPAs) will provide suitable, proportionate and practical advice on how to comply with the law. Aurora can support at all steps in the process including:
- The development of suitable management system processes to manage the risk from radon.
- Support in monitoring for radon gas including the implementation of both active and passive monitoring programmes.
- Compliance with the requirements of IRR17 for any work undertaken in radon atmospheres exceeding 300 Bq/m3.
Aurora has a range of active monitoring instrumentation including the AlphaGUARD which is considered to be the benchmark instrument for professional radon monitoring and is used by UKHSA for calibration of other radon detectors. Using the AlphaGUARD, Aurora can attain readings in as little as 10 minutes and can monitor changes in concentrations over time. This data can be invaluable in supporting the production of risk assessments and procedures and may save significant money for companies by providing detailed data prior to undertaking mitigation.
Where significant radon testing and mitigation is required Aurora can work with partner organisations, such as PropertECO, to deliver the radon service you require.
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