Radon in workplaces – new legislation requires employers in high radon areas to test for this cancer-causing gas

May 8th 2019

New radiation protection legislation requires all employers in high radon areas to test their workplace for the radioactive gas radon.  Where levels are above the national reference level of 300 Becquerel per metre cubed, employers are then required to carry out work to reduce these levels.

At today’s National Radon Forum, attendees heard from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) about the requirements of this new legislation. 

Speaking at today’s National Radon Forum Laura Burke, EPA Director General, said:

“In Ireland, up to 300 cases of lung cancer each year are linked to Radon, which is a serious public health hazard.  Employers now have responsibility to ensure that their employees are protected from exposure to this radioactive gas.  Radon testing in workplaces is simple and inexpensive and, where necessary, reducing high radon levels in a building is also straightforward. The EPA and the HSA are working in partnership to support employers in implementing this legislation.” 

Yvonne Mullooly, Assistant Chief Executive, from the Health & Safety Authority welcomed the new legislation:

“In addition to the existing general duties on employers to address radioactive hazards, this new legislation provides employers with clear testing requirements for radon gas in their workplaces. The Authority looks forward to continued collaboration with the EPA in highlighting radon gas exposure in workplaces and supporting the ongoing work of the National Radon Control Strategy Co-ordination Group. Our inspectors will continue to raise awareness during their inspections of the potential for radon gas exposures and the need for appropriate risk assessments. We will continue to support employers by providing information and through our on-line risk assessment tool BeSMART www.BeSMART.ie, which includes radon as a hazard.”

Phase Two of the National Radon Control Strategy is also being launched today at the 15th National Radon Forum in Dublin.  Attendees will hear about the Government’s Strategy to tackle radon over the next 5 years and the research that is needed to support this work.