New National Radon Action Plan Considers Working From Home

March 5, 2024
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Radon is a naturally occurring colourless, odourless, and radioactive gas. In the UK, the main source of radon is the ground. Gas can seep out and build up in caves, underground mines, and poorly ventilated areas of buildings, in particular basements.

It is estimated that exposure to radon is the second-largest cause of lung cancer after smoking in the UK.

For a long time, various government departments have been involved in taking action to manage and minimise exposure to radon. As part of this, in 2018, the UK Health Security Agency published a National Radon Action Plan, which sets out what arrangements are currently in place and identifies areas for future work. A consultation on a second edition of the plan was recently launched.

Among other proposals, what will be of particular relevance to employers are plans to raise awareness of radon exposure when working from home.

Regulations require employers to assess health and safety risks; these assessments should include the risk of exposure to radon, where relevant. The HSE advises that for above-ground workplaces, “the risk assessment should include radon measurements in appropriate ground floor rooms where the building is located in a radon affected area,” and for all below-ground workplaces, “e.g., those occupied greater than an average of an hour per week or approximately 50 hours per year, or those containing an open water source, the risk assessment should include radon measurements… irrespective of the above-ground affected area status.

Depending on the results of the testing, there are various practical measures that can be used to minimise radon levels in buildings.

Employers have the same responsibilities for employees who work from home as they do for those in traditional workplaces; this includes assessing and managing risks from radon. The HSE also recommends home testing for employees who live in a radon-affected area and work from home.

If you have any questions or would like support with managing issues at your workplace, please speak to your usual contact or get in touch using the form below.