Research has demonstrated that the air in most caves and mines contains varying concentrations of the radioactive gas radon (Rn) and its daughter products.
The Radon Working Group is dedicated to the study of radon and its potential impacts for those venturing underground. This is a complex area, as the underground levels of radon vary significantly from one underground site to another depending on geology, air flow and a variety of other factors. Furthermore, caver exposure is often transient rather than continuous, so understanding the risks based on existing published data can be challenging.
The Radon Working Group manage the document ‘Radon Underground’ which provides the most up to date guidelines published by the BCA, specifically for cavers and mine explorers. To download the raw data used in Radon Underground click here.
The Radon Working Group facilitate new research to help build better pictures of radon levels and exposure to ensure that the Radon Underground document is kept current and reflective of changes in Health and Safety regulations. For example, in 2019-2020, the BCA funded a substantial new program of research to build a better picture of radon levels at various underground sites across the country and throughout the year. The BCA believes we have a duty, as the National Body for underground exploration, to take a leading role in understanding any risks unique to our environment. This is particularly relevant for those involved in instructed caving, where the underground is also a workplace. As such the Radon Working Group liaise closely with our Qualifications Management Committee.