Evaluation of the PGP-EA aerosol sampler by means of welding fume measurements

Project No. BGIA 3086


completed 10/2005


EN 481 "Workplace atmospheres - Size fraction definitions for measurement of airborne particles" defines the inhalable, thoracic and respirable dust fractions. Within an European project a new reference method was developed for simultaneous measurement of hazardous particulate matter in these three dust fractions. Porous plastic foams are used in the sampler for the size selection of particles analogous to the separation characteristics of the human airways. BGIA, the BG institute for occupational safety and health, developed a prototype for sampling the inhalable and respirable fraction, PGP-EA (German: personengetragenes Probenahmesystem für die einatembare und alveolengängige Staubfraktion). No limit value currently exists for the thoracic dust fraction. The prototype was to be tested in field tests for welding processes and to be established as BGIA routine procedure for the measurement of welding fumes. Procedures were to be defined not only for handling of the instrument, but also for determining the dust mass of each stage.


The sampling tests of the PGP-EA were performed during welding operations. Over 200 comparisons were performed. The data were assessed according to the standard EN 13205 "Workplace atmospheres - Assessment of performance of instruments for measurement of airborne particle concentrations", Annex C. A weighing procedure was defined for determination of sampled dust masses. Requirements for MEGA (sampling data for exposure to hazardous substances at workplaces) data acquisition were compiled.


Application of the PGP-EA sampler permits simultaneous personal sampling of the inhalable and respirable dust fraction and thus better exposure assessment than the use of discrete fraction samplers. The concentrations of the inhalable and respirable dust fractions of welding fumes measured by means of the PGP-EA corresponded closely to those measured by means of the existing standard sampling heads. Handling and transportation routines of the sampling media were also established. The PGP-EA with its mass determination procedure is now an established standard sampling procedure for welding fumes in the BG measuring system for hazardous substances (BGMG).

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Financed by:
  • Hauptverband der gewerblichen Berufsgenossenschaften (HVBG)
Research institution(s):
  • Berufsgenossenschaftliches Institut für Arbeitsschutz - BGIA
  • Maschinenbau- und Metall-Berufsgenossenschaft
  • Norddeutsche Metall-Berufsgenossenschaft
  • Berufsgenossenschaft Metall Süd
  • Bergbau-BG

-cross sectoral-

Type of hazard:

Gefahrstoffe, Arbeitsbedingte Gesundheitsgefahren


Messverfahren, Exposition

Description, key words:

dust, exposure, inhalable dust fraction, thoracic dust fraction, respirable dust fraction, EN 481, simultaneous sampling, porous plastic foam, particle size separation, PGP-EA, field test, welding fumes, dust mass determination