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Monthly Archives

February 2019

“It’s time the new Radiation Protection Act for workplaces is taken seriously”

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Sweden’s new Radiation Protection Act came into force on 1 June 2018. Now the country’s employers have to be aware of the radon levels in our workplaces. Employers also have to take action that may reasonably be required to tackle radon levels over the hygienic limit value of 200 Bq/m³.

What are your impressions since the law came in?

Unfortunately, knowledge of radon is generally low. I’d also say that a great many of Sweden’s employers are unaware of what the new law means. Essentially, it’s about a health issue and about employees not being exposed to radon levels above the hygienic limit value. After almost half a year, you might think it’s time to take the law seriously.

Another observation is that when companies contact us and we describe how radon is monitored, the response is often, “That’s simple, we should have done this earlier.”

Monitoring radon properly from the offset gives both the employer and employees the peace of mind of knowing what the radon levels are at work. If you carry out proper monitoring and it turns out that the limit value is being

How do we monitor radon in workplaces and what should we be considering?

Basically, it’s easy to monitor radon. You order radon detectors, deploy them, record data, collect the detectors and send them to the radon laboratory, which will return a report by e-mail or online. However, there are several aspects to consider, such as how many radon detectors are needed for reliable monitoring? Another question is how can the work be done as efficiently as possible? The biggest cost of radon monitoring is the time it takes to deploy the detectors, record the data and then retrieve them again. This is vital for ensuring efficiency and safety in all stages of the process.

Real estate companies that carry out monitoring in, say, shopping malls, are one example of an efficient approach. It’s an added value for the tenants if radon monitoring takes place in each store without the tenants having to carry out their own monitoring. If the real estate company carries out the monitoring with, say Radonova, they have full control and avoid a situation arising later on where individual premises have elevated radon levels.

How many radon detectors are needed to monitor radon in the workplace?

For radon monitoring in the workplace, we recommend following the guidelines from IRMA (the International Radon Measurement Association). You will then meet your national requirements as well. The advantage of IRMA’s guidelines is that their recommended measurement procedure helps to save time.

Are there any common misconceptions about monitoring in the workplace?

One common misconception is that it’s sufficient to carry out monitoring in one in every five rooms or use one detector per 500 m³ in large premises. The information can be found in the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority’s method description, but it also says that monitoring should be carried out where there are suspected high radon levels, and in rooms that have or are adjacent to pipework, which can increase the risk of high radon levels. In principle, this means that monitoring should take place in all rooms where employees spend more than four hours a week.

Radonova is a World leader in radon monitoring. Describe why you´ll be a leader in this market, too…

We offer safe, accredited monitoring methods and our products can be used in public environments. We also offer the fastest delivery and shortest analysis times on the market. Radonova has invested heavily in user-friendliness where companies that carry out radon monitoring simply record data about deployment and the monitoring dates. The results of the analysis are also easily accessible via our web application. All of the stages of our process are efficient and safe, and the work and time taken to carry out monitoring are minimized.

Read more about radon and radon monitoring here»
https://radonovalaboratories.com/

For further information on radon monitoring in the workplace, please contact Johan Olsson, phone: +46 (0)18-56 88 00, e-mail: johan.olsson@radonova.com

workplaces

Johan Olsson of Radonova Laboratories is a specialist in workplace monitoring. He describes his view of efforts to monitor radon in the workplace.

How do you measure radon?

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Radon is a so-called “inert” gas that is also radioactive. In other words it emits ionising radiation. If people suffer excessive exposure to this radiation in their workplace or at home, it can lead to cell damage and therefore to cancer. It is estimated that up to 14% of all cases of lung cancer in the world are caused by radon. measurements are crucial.

Radon comes from the ground

Radon occurs naturally in the ground since it comes from uranium that decays. Buildings that have basements and that are otherwise in direct contact with the ground are most affected by radon.

Radon is measured using boxes

Radon is normally measured using what are referred to as “radon boxes”. These are small boxes that you place around the home or in the workplace for a certain period of time. This is to see the specific radon value in the specific rooms where the measurement is being carried out.

This means that it is best to place radon boxes in rooms where you spend a lot of time such as bedrooms and living rooms. In rooms in which you or people around you spend the most time, it may be worth placing two boxes in different parts of the room to obtain the most accurate measurement possible.

Quick measurement or long-term measurements

There are two different types of boxes that you can use for radon measurement. The first of these is the box that carries out long-term measurement that most people are familiar with. A so-called “long-term measurement” enables you to obtain an average annual value for radon levels in indoor air. It is only possible to carry out long-term measurements of radon during the winter months. This is because people do not ventilate as frequently as in summer, which concentrates the radon and, in turn, provides an optimum measurement. Long-term measurements take approximately two to three months and all you need to do is position the boxes. Then leave them there for the full period before sending them back.

For people who do not have the time required to carry out long-term measurements, there are also boxes that provide a quick measurement. These do not show the average amount of radon in a year, but can provide a quick indication of the property’s approximate exposure to radon. They are suitable for people who want to buy a house or another property. Quick measurements take up to 10 twenty-four hour periods and can be carried out at any time of year.

After the measurement

When the period of time for the selected boxes has ended, you simply send in the boxes. You then receive a full report on the results. This usually takes only one week to send out.

measurements

Radon measurement season in full swing

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season

Radonova’s new web application has a completely new and intuitive user interface and gives users secure access to reports, measurement jobs and other data, all updated in real time.

On 1 October the radon measurement season got under way in Sweden. You can actually measure radon all year round, but if you want an annual average for radon levels in your home or workplace, you have to measure them over the course of at least two months during the winter when heating systems are on. In Sweden this is between 1 October and 30 April. In practice, this means you have to start measuring radon levels by the end of February.  

We met up with Oscar Wännerud, who is in charge of the world’s leading radon laboratory. Here Oscar describes the measuring and analysis work carried out during peak season, and talks about how Radonova handles tens of thousands of detectors a month.

In brief, how would you describe your daily work in the lab during peak season?

We are now at the start of the season, so we are working on large volumes of deliveries.

Our automated production of radon detectors has been ramped up, running at top speed, from six in the morning until midnight. This is needed so that over the autumn we can supply 80,000 detectors a month.

In December, the detectors start to come back in, as at that point many customers will have been able to measure over two months. At that time we are still sending out large volumes of detectors. In the spring there are fewer deliveries to be made, as the measurement season is drawing to a close. At that stage the work switches to processing and analysing large volumes of radon measurements. International customers often measure all year round, resulting in a more even flow for these customers. This also means that we run all processes all year round but with varying volumes.

Are all analyses conducted at Radonova’s laboratory in Uppsala?

All radon detectors are manufactured in Uppsala and then distributed across the world. The same applies when customers have completed their measurements. The detectors are sent back to the lab in Uppsala for etching, reading and analysis. This requires reliable, effective and well-functioning procedures and processes for both outgoing deliveries and incoming deliveries of exposed detectors. We need a rational and tightly controlled approach to be able to handle the large volumes we deal with.

Have any new issues or challenges arisen this season?

The work has so far been characterised by increased volumes and rapid delivery times. We are selling more measurement services than ever, yet we have still managed to further reduce delivery times. All so we can give our customers the best possible service.

What do you feel is the recipe for success when it comes to reliability and assurance?

Accreditation is an important base for a monitoring laboratory. We really benefit from being audited by external bodies. Well-established procedures in combination with ongoing improvement work are required for us to be able to remain at the forefront within radon measurement. We are also involved in various international comparative tests in order to ensure that our processes maintain a very high level.

Have you got any general tips for companies or private individuals who are intending to measure radon?

It is simple to measure radon using Radonova’s services. Via “My Pages” you get full control of your data and can easily export it when needed to either PDF reports or Excel files for further processing/statistical purposes. When our customers use My Pages to record data, we get immediate access to the measurement data. This in turn produces quicker analytical results. Another upside to using My Pages is that it minimises the sources of errors, which can easily arise when work is performed on paper and is characterised by multiple manual steps. Via My Pages customers can easily supplement data and get rapid responses.

How do you think things are going to develop in radon measurement?

Automation and digitalisation are the two biggest future trends. The combination of automated processes and customers having increased access through digitalisation will be a crucial success factor. We expect to minimise lead times for outward delivery, but above all we will be reducing the time it takes to perform analyses. I am also convinced that Radonova is ideally positioned to continue as a global leader in the measurement and analysis of radon samples.

 

For further information about radon and radon measurement, visit FAQ