Radon: The hazard and managing the risk

30Oct / 2017

Radon: The hazard and managing the risk

Radon gas is a natural hazard that we can’t see, feel or smell. Consequently, most people are unaware of it and the risks don’t get the attention they deserve.

GGS recently provided an article for Tomorrow’s Health and Safety on the nature of Radon, the associated risks and best practice methods of monitoring the gas.

Radon is created by the radioactive decay of uranium that ocurs naturally in all rocks and soils. It’s present in the ground and normally will harmlessly escape to the atmosphere. The problem arises when it is trapped in buildings where it can be breathed in. This wasn’t a problem in older, draughty buildings but is potentially a problem .in modern, air-tight offices and homes.

The real risk is not from radon gas itself but the radioactive daughter products from its decay.  These are solid radioactive elements that can lodge in the lungs where they continue to decay and emit damaging alpha particles, potentially leading to lung cancer. A report published by Public Health England[1] estimated that radon is a cause in over 1,100 lung cancer deaths each year in the UK. The second largest cause after smoking.

As radon is linked to the underlying geology, indicative maps have been produced by the British Geological Survey of higher risk areas. However, it’s the building design and construction details that most affect whether radon can enter a building with the greatest risk associated with buildings with basements or cellars.

In private homes, the responsibility for ensuring a property is safe rests with the home owner. Although for new development in higher risk areas, local authorities have a role in requiring developers to include appropriate radon protection in their buildings.

However, the strongest regulation applies to employers who, through Health & Safety regulations carry a legal duty to ensure that their employees work in a safe environment.

Find out how GGS can help you managed the risk posed by Radon here.

You can read the full article on the Tomorrow’s Health and Safety website by clicking here.