Obligations in radon protection areas
Which jobs are affected? What does this mean for you as an employer? Who are the responsible bodies? The answers to these questions can be found in the Radiation Protection Act 2020 and the Radon Protection Ordinance.
Workplaces in radon protection areas
In Austria, there are geographical areas where high indoor radon concentrations occur due to the properties of the soil in comparatively many buildings.
Such areas are designated as radon protection areas in Annex 1 of the Radon Protection Ordinance at the municipal level.
To ensure the health protection of workers in radon protection areas, the Radiation Protection Act 2020 and the Radon Protection Ordinance contain corresponding regulations.
Obligation to survey radon exposure
A company or an operating site falls within the scope of radon protection at the workplace if the following points apply:
- The company or the operating site is located in a radon protection area. (see radon map)
- Workplaces are located on the ground floor or in basements.
The person responsible for the occupational activities carried out at the workplaces shall arrange for the radon concentration at these workplaces to be determined. For this purpose, the person commissions an authorized monitoring body. Prior to the commissioning, it should be clarified within the company whether an exemption from the measurement obligation applies to workplaces that are basically subject to the measurement obligation.
The aim of this determination is to check whether the reference value for the radon concentration at the workplace is complied with in all relevant work areas.
Exceptions from the measurement obligation
Workplaces where at least one of the following conditions applies are exempt from the measurement obligations of the Radiation Protection Act 2020:
- the responsible person does not employ any workers at these workplaces
- the workplaces are located in private households
- workers do not spend more than ten hours per week (averaged over one year) at the workplace
- the building components and component transitions in contact with the ground as well as the penetrations and openings through building components and component transitions in contact with the ground are designed against water under pressure
- there is a radon drainage system according to the state of the art for protection against radon, the effect of which covers the entire building
- the workplaces are separated from the subsoil by a floor with permanent forced ventilation (for example: underground car park)
If at least one exemption condition applies to all workplaces of a company or a plant, this must be notified in writing to the responsible radiation protection authority. This eliminates further obligations. The competent authority is the governor or the head of the provincial government, represented by the respective office of the provincial government. If the company is subject to the Mineral Resources Act, the authority responsible under the Mineral Resources Act is also responsible for radon protection.
In accordance with the transitional provisions of the Radiation Protection Act 2020 , those monitoring bodies that were allowed to carry out radon measurements under the Natural Radiation Sources Ordinance are considered authorized monitoring bodies for the radon measurements currently to be commissioned. The list of authorized monitoring bodies is updated regularly.
Authorized monitoring bodies for radon
Radon Competence Centre in Austria