What is Radon?
Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that can seep out of the ground and build up in houses and indoor workplaces. It comes from uranium which occurs naturally in many rocks and soils. The decay products of radon behave like solid materials and can become attached dust and water droplets that become lodged in the lungs and airways when inhaled. Some of these decay products emit radiation which can damage cells in the lung and may trigger lung cancer.
How is Radon regulated?
The Ionising Radiation Regulations (IRRs) 2017 set action levels, which if exceeded then action must be taken to restrict exposure. This is a concentration of 300Bq/m3 for workplaces and for domestic premises, the action level is 200Bq/m3 which applies to residential areas of the University.
The UK has been surveyed by the Public Health England (PHE) and British Geological Survey and an Indicative Atlas of Radon in England and Wales shows that the University campus is in a ‘Radon affected area’.
Radon surveys have been carried out at the University and demonstrated that levels are well below the actions levels. The next Radon survey will be carried out in 2021.
How is Radon managed at the University?
A risk assessment for radon has been carried out for the University premises including new and refurbished buildings.
Radon surveys as part of the radon risk assessment are carried out at suitable intervals dependent on levels measured.
Results of surveys above action levels are reported to appropriate departments and Estates.
A record of radon measurements undertaken are maintained.
Any required preventative and/or control measures to reduce radon risks to as low as reasonably practicable are implemented.
Any engineered systems in place to prevent/minimise radon exposure are on a planned preventative maintenance and inspection regime and records kept.
The Department of Estates keeps an up to date register of all protection measures undertaken to reduce radon exposure.
During the construction of new buildings the installation of radon protection measures are considered.
Employees should not interfere with or mis-use any monitoring or protective equipment provided to control radon levels in the workplace.
If you wish to know more about how the University managed Radon risk you ca download the University's Radon in the Workplace Safety Standard.
This Standard is due for Review by end of March 2021