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Radiation protection against radon
In some areas or rooms in which people stay for work-related reasons, naturally occurring radioactive substances can lead to increased radiation exposure. One of these substances is the radioactive gas radon.
The increased radiation exposure from radon can have different causes. On the one hand, there are work areas which, regardless of their geographical location, have an increased level of radon. These are underground work areas (e.g. tunnels, show caves) or areas in water supply systems and radon spa facilities where radon escapes from the water into the room air.
On the other hand, there are geographical areas in Austria in which, due to the properties of the soil, there are high indoor radon concentrations in a comparatively large number of buildings. In Appendix 1 of the Radon Protection Ordinance, these are designated as radon protection areas at community level. This affects workplaces on the ground floor and basement.
You can find specifications on this in Section 98 of the Radiation Protection Act 2020 and the Radon Protection Ordinance.
In order to protect the workforce, the person responsible for the workplaces must arrange for the radon concentration to be determined at each of these workplaces. To do this, it must commission an authorized monitoring body. A list of the authorized monitoring bodies can be found on the website of the Federal Ministry for Climate Protection, Environment, Energy, Innovation, Mobility and Technology (BMK).
When commissioning the monitoring body, a unique identification number must be given. The BMK provides the technical requirements for generating this unique location identification in EDM (Electronic Data Management of the Federal Government - edm.gv.at):
When registering, the company details are given and the activity profile "Owner of a location with the obligation to record radon exposure at the workplace" is selected. After receiving the access data and logging in, the locations affected by the measurement obligation are created under the menu item "ZAReg master data maintenance". Each location is now displayed with a "Global Location Number" (GLN), which is to be transmitted to the monitoring center as a unique location identification in the course of commissioning a measurement.
Instructions for registering and creating locations in EDM are available at edm.gv.at.
There are exceptions to the obligation to record the radon concentration (§ 6 Radon Protection Ordinance). If at least one of the conditions mentioned there applies to all workplaces, a survey of the radon concentration does not have to be commissioned. In the case of workstations on the ground floor and basement in radon protection areas, this fact must be brought to the attention of the competent authority in writing, stating the identification number of the location.
The other obligations depend on the radon concentration recorded. If the radon concentration recorded at all workplaces is below the reference value, no further action is necessary.
If the recorded radon concentration is above the reference value in at least one workplace, an attempt should first be made to reduce the radon exposure at the workplace concerned through structural measures. In most cases, with an expert approach, it will be possible to achieve a permanent lowering of the radon concentration with relatively little effort. A control measurement is necessary to check the effectiveness of the measures taken.
If the radon concentration recorded in the control measurement at all workplaces is below the reference value, no further action is necessary. If the radon concentration recorded in the control measurement is still above the reference value and further structural measures are not economically justifiable, a dose estimate must be arranged by an authorized monitoring body.
As soon as the results of the dose estimate are available, information on the radon measurement, the dose estimate and the measures taken must be reported to the responsible radiation protection authority. If necessary, a statement of reasons can be given as to why further measures are unreasonable.
Further obligations depend on the result of the dose estimate and on the assessment of the reported information by the competent authority (Section 100 (5) to (8) of the Radiation Protection Act 2020).
After relevant changes, a new radon measurement must be carried out. The relevant changes are defined in the Radon Protection Ordinance.
Companies with jobs in water supply companies, underground areas of mines, shafts, tunnels, tunnels and caves, in show mines and show caves as well as in radon spa facilities
Companies in radon protection areas with workplaces on the ground floor or in the basement
Arrange for a radon measurement to be carried out by an authorized monitoring body within six months of starting work in accordance with Section 100 of the Radiation Protection Act 2020.
If the operating site in question already existed when the Radiation Protection Act 2020 came into force (August 1, 2020), the radon measurement must be arranged by an authorized monitoring body by July 31, 2022 at the latest (transition period).
Depending on the result of the radon measurement, the following deadlines must be observed in accordance with Section 100 of the Radiation Protection Act 2020:
- If the radon concentration exceeds the reference value during the first measurement: 18 months from the availability of the result for taking measures, initiating a control measurement and initiating a dose estimate, if the reference value is still exceeded during the control measurement
- As soon as the result of the dose estimation is available: four weeks for reporting to the competent authority
Further deadlines depend on the result of the dose estimate on the assessment of the information transmitted by the competent authority (Section 100 (5) to (8) of the Radiation Protection Act 2020).
In order to make use of an exception to the measurement obligation, this must be reported to the authority. There is no explicit deadline for this. However, failing to measure radon is an administrative offense. It is therefore advisable to report an applicable exception within the time limits that apply to the initiation of the measurement.
The governor, represented by the respective office of the provincial government. If the company is subject to the Mineral Raw Materials Act, the competent authority in accordance with the Mineral Raw Materials Act is also responsible for radon protection.
No radiation protection permit is required for "increased exposure to radon at the workplace". However, if the company does not comply with reporting obligations and / or if no adequate radiation protection measures are taken, the authority will initiate a radiation protection procedure ex officio.
There is an obligation to notify the competent authority as soon as the results of the dose estimate are available. With this report, information on the radon measurement, the dose estimate and the measures taken must be transmitted to the responsible radiation protection authority (Section 100 (4) Radiation Protection Act 2020). If necessary, a statement of reasons can be given as to why further optimization measures are unreasonable.
The "User Area - EBB" in EDM can be used as a communication platform between the person obliged to measure / obligated to measure and the authority and thus shorten the processing time of documents or simplify processing.
There is no expert information available.
Responsible for the content: Federal Ministry for Climate Protection, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology
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