This week saw the annual Workers’ Memorial Day spread the message that increased attention needs to be paid to workplace health & safety. The annual event organised by TUC aims to raise awareness of the number of people who die each year in the UK as a result of both accidents at work and diseases developed due to working conditions.
TUC state that “Every year more people are killed at work than in wars. Most don’t die of
mystery ailments, or in tragic “accidents”. They die because an employer decided
their safety just wasn’t that important a priority. Workers’ Memorial Day
commemorates those workers.”
A significant number of lung cancer deaths each year can be attributed to radon exposure that employees received whilst at their place of work. Research carried out by Dr Lesley Rushton of Imperial College London established that around 180 people die from lung cancer every year due to radon exposure received whilst at work. The majority of these deaths would have been avoidable had the employer tested their premises for radon and taken action to reduce elevated concentrations.
Radon testing is inexpensive and simple. A number of small, plastic detectors should be placed throughout the building and left for a period of three months. After this time, the detectors are simply posted back to a laboratory for analysis. propertECO can supply radon detectors suitable for workplaces and advise on the number of detectors required depending on the size, layout and type of premises.
For employees who do not have one fixed place of work but visit other people’s premises regularly, for example utilities engineers, surveyors, civil engineers, maintenance workers or basement waterproofers, radon risk assessments should still be carried out to ensure that the cumulative exposure is not excessive.
As it would be impractical to carry out a three month test prior to such workers visiting a premises, propertECO can exclusively supply the Victoria Radon Alarm for such instances. This is a portable battery-operated device that measures radon levels in real time and will alert occupants if the concentration is above the enforceable Action Level of 400 Bq/m3.
Radon testing is compulsory in all workplaces with basements and in all workplaces located in designated ‘affected areas’. Advice from the Health & Safety Executive regarding radon can be found here.
Until more employers recognise their responsibility to test for radon and take action to reduce high concentrations that are found, hundreds of workers will continue to die needlessly every year.
To find out more about radon testing or the Victoria Radon Alarm, please get in touch with us.