The focus of the German ordinance on hazardous substances lies upon risk assessment, the purpose of which is to reduce hazards to a minimum, including those associated with inhalative and dermal exposure. Under the German occupational safety and health act, the employer is responsible for performance of the risk assessment. Companies must use the risk assessment in order to identify and evaluate hazards, and to define and review protective measures. All hazards, such as those associated with activities involving hazardous substances, are to be identified and assessed. Substance-specific hazards, described by classifications and R phrases, must be included in the assessment, as must the possible exposures. The act does not specify how this is to be done. Performance of risk assessments for activities involving hazardous substances continues to present a particular problem, despite a whole range of tools being available. A web-based instrument, the "Stoffenmanager", was developed in the Netherlands by TNO and further partners for use by small and medium-sized companies in the performance of risk assessments. It is available on the Internet (in English and Dutch). The "GESTIS-Stoffmanager" now being planned is intended to provide companies which have only limited expertise of their own in the assessment of chemical risks with support in prioritizing the chemical hazard potential, and at the same time to indicate measures for reducing exposure to these hazards. In the first instance, it provides an introduction to risk assessment, particularly for substances for which exposure limits and measurement methods do not exist.
The English version (version 4.0) of the original "Stoffenmanager" has been translated into German and adapted to the German body of regulations. Version 1.0 of the "GESTIS-Stoffmanager" is being made available by the Institute for Occupational Safety and Health of the German Social Accident Insurance (IFA) as a web-based tool. The "GESTIS-Stoffmanager" employs the same model as the original "Stoffenmanager". It classifies the hazards presented by a product according to the R phrases for the substance in question. The model for assessment of the inhalative exposure is based upon the "emission source-recipient approach". Factors influencing the level of exposure include the type of task, local protective measures (such as exhaust, and free and assisted room ventilation) and product properties. The model for evaluation of the skin exposure is based upon the RISKOFDERM toolkit. This uses information and measured data on dermal exposure from the European "Risk Assessment For Occupational Dermal Exposure To Chemicals" project in order to estimate the dermal exposure.
The "GESTIS-Stoffmanager" consists of three modules. In Module 1 (identifying and reducing hazards), the inhalative and dermal hazards presented by the products employed in the working area are incorporated into the model by way of associated R phrases. The level of hazard presented by the product and the estimated exposure are linked to form a hazard category. This instrument also enables the impacts of exposure reduction measures to be estimated and documented. Module 2 (quantitative estimation of the inhalative exposure) contains a quantitative, validated exposure model which uses the constituents of products for estimation of the inhalative exposure presented by inhalable dusts and vapours. With it, the user is able to estimate the inhalative exposure level in mg/m³ associated with an activity. Module 3 (quantitative estimation of the inhalative work-related exposure in accordance with REACH) is based upon the same model as the quantitative instrument for exposure estimation described above under Point 2. The "GESTIS-Stoffmanager" is hosted by the DGUV and is available on the Internet free of charge to all interested parties.
-cross sectoral-Type of hazard:
risk assessment, risk assessmentDescription, key words:
risk assessment, exposure assessment, inhalative exposure, dermal exposure