OSHA: Radon exposure unlikely for trench workers


Construction workers in open-air excavation or trenching worksites are not likely to be exposed to radon radiation above the permissible exposure limit, but workers in an enclosed space could be, OSHA said in a recent standard interpretation.

In an open-air environment such as a trench, radon gas levels generally are diluted through natural ventilation, but workers in a building, mine, cave or tunnel could be exposed to hazardous levels of radon that are artificially enhanced due to confinement. Radon testing at an excavation worksite generally would not be necessary unless the excavations are enclosed or in a geographical area known for high levels of radon, Richard Fairfax, director of OSHA's Directorate of Enforcement Programs, said in the letter.

The agency advises using OSHA's standards for ionizing radiation (1926.53 and 1910.1096) to determine if a given radon level may result in hazardous exposures; control measures can be found in 1926.651(g)(1)(ii).

Other recently released standard interpretations from OSHA include:

Post a comment to this article

Safety+Health welcomes comments that promote respectful dialogue. Please stay on topic. Comments that contain personal attacks, profanity or abusive language – or those aggressively promoting products or services – will be removed. We reserve the right to determine which comments violate our comment policy. (Anonymous comments are welcome; merely skip the “name” field in the comment box. An email address is required but will not be included with your comment.)