Many clients are not aware of the dangers posed by radon gas. It is a colourless, odourless and tasteless naturally occurring radioactive gas – which is the second largest cause of lung cancer and the third leading cause of premature deaths in the UK.
With the arrival of radon awareness week it’s important that clients ensure they have an adequate and appropriate strategy in place to protect employees and meet new safety standards.
As of February 2018 changes to the Ionising Radiation Regulations 1999 (IRR1999) mean employers will have to adhere to a new lower radon exposure limit of 300Bq/M3 in the workplace, replacing the current 400Bq/M3 threshold.
The Health and Safety at Work Act etc. 1974 places a duty on organisations to carry out a radon risk assessment. UK workplaces located below ground floors, in an area of high radon activity and occupied more than an hour per week, must carry out testing.
The levels of radon gas vary across the UK depending on location and building type. The risk of radon exposure in a building increases dramatically if an employee’s workplace is in a geographic area of high radon activity such as Wales and Cornwall.
Under the reforms, the Health & Safety Executive is also planning to overhaul how organisations notify HSE of unsafe levels of exposure.
As a result, organisations will need to pursue testing and remediation in the first instance, and will only be required to notify HSE once remediation shows levels cannot be reduced below the new 300Bq/m3 limit.