As of 1st January 2018, the ‘action level’ for radon in workplaces has changed to 300 Bq/m3.
The revision of the Ionising Radiations Regulations 1999 (IRR99), now Ionising Radiations Regulations 2017 (IRR17), means that all employers with annual average radon levels in excess of 300 Bq/m3 in their premises must Notify the Health & Safety Executive and plan to limit their employees’ exposure to the hazard.
Whilst on paper the change from a 400 Bq/m3 to 300 Bq/m3 action level appears to be a significant reduction, in reality it is unlikely to lead to any additional premises requiring further action due to a small but important change in the way in which the action level is calculated. Whilst the 400 Bq/m3 action level was calculated as an annual maximum, the new 300 Bq/m3 action level is an annual average allowance. As radon levels during the winter months can be considerably higher than during the summer, alternative seasonal correction factors are applied to any ‘raw’ readings taken to calculate either the maximum or average levels.
In practice this means that any buildings with annual average radon levels above 300 Bq/m3 would almost certainly have also exceeded the former 400 Bq/m3 annual maximum threshold, so further action would have been required even without this change in legislation.
Once elevated radon levels have been identified, in order to reduce the hazard posed to staff an employer should either restrict access to those
areas (via consultation with an approved Radiation Protection Adviser) or carry out mitigation works to lower the radon level. Regardless of which approach is planned, once radon levels in excess of 300 Bq/m3 have been identified in a workplace it is the responsibility of the employer to Notify HSE. For further information on this process please refer to to the guidance produced by HSE.
All employers are required to carry out a radon risk assessment, which in many cases will require the placement of radon detectors. propertECO are on hand to guide you through this process in an easy, cost-effective way.