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Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
Kansas City Area Office
Ozark Underground Laboratory (OUL)

Period Covered by This Report

June, 2005 – August 31, 2007

Training and Education Activities

In October 2006, Tom Aley, President of the OUL, conducted training on the cave radiation issue for members of the National Caves Association (NCA) at their annual convention. He also had a number of meetings with cave owners and operators on the issue and on management strategies appropriate for minimizing employee exposure to alpha radiation at individual operations.

Promoting the National Dialogue

Also in October 2006, Tom Aley of the OUL and Dr. Arrigo Cigna presented a morning session on alpha radiation at the 5th Congress of the International Show Cave Association held in Bermuda. These sessions are held once every four years. Dr. Cigna, of Italy, is an internationally known radiation health physicist and has been involved for a number of years in alpha radiation issues on behalf of the International Show Cave Association. The management approach adopted under the Alliance Agreement was well received by the audience and it seems likely that similar approaches may be instituted in other countries. During his presentation Dr. Cigna strongly supported the approach we have developed as being both reasonable and technically sound.

Outreach and Communication Activities

At the NCA annual convention the members voted to adopt the cave radiation management strategy developed under this Alliance Agreement as a requirement for new or continued membership in the NCA. One part of this strategy is that each member cave is to prepare a Cave Radiation Management Plan for their facility. Each member cave is to be monitored at least once for alpha radiation. The management plans require estimates of the extent of current exposure to alpha radiation by employees, a detailed plan for training employees and managers on the issue, and the adoption of Best Management Practices appropriate to conditions present at the facility. Cave Radiation Management Plans are reviewed for compliance with the strategy by the OUL and then, if they are in compliance, are recommended by the OUL to the President of the NCA for certification. The initial certification period will be 3 years followed by recertification every four years.

There are currently 90 members of the NCA; some members provide tours in two caves. 76 of the members are private or not-for-profit entities, 8 are state owned, 5 are National Park Service or U.S. Forest Service caves, and 1 is a foreign member (Bermuda). We have monitored all of the private and not-for-profit caves at least once during the past four years, monitored 5 of the 8 state-owned caves, and monitored the two caves at the operation in Bermuda. To date we have reviewed the Cave Radiation Management Plans for 27 of the private and not-for-profit caves and have recommended 25 for certification; additional information was requested for the other two submitted plans and that should be forthcoming in the near future.

Under the NCA strategy all cave radiation management plans are due to be submitted during 2007. To date the rate of plan submissions has been slower than we would like but the NCA President and his regional directors are actively encouraging member caves to get their plans finished. Tom Aley will attend the 2007 NCA Convention in San Antonio to provide updated training on the issue and to assist in getting plans completed.

The NCA has begun an outreach program to make non-member show caves aware of the issue and the industry standards that are now in force. Response to this effort has been favorable.

Alliance Program Reach

Type of Activity (Conference, Training, Print and Electronic Distribution, etc.) Number of Individuals Reached or Trained
National Cave Association Annual Convention-October 17-20, 2006 in Hamilton Parish, Bermuda 100 attendees
5th Congress of the International Show Cave Association-October 24-28, 2006 in Hamilton Parish, Bermuda 130 attendees

The Kansas City Area Office and Mr. Aley believe it would be prudent to extend the Alliance Agreement for one more year. This period will be sufficient to complete most or all of the Cave Radiation Management Plans.