Binding occupational exposure limit values (OELs) of the European Commission

The announcement in the German Federal Labour Gazette (2006) No 4, p. 46, makes dynamic reference to the EU's binding occupational exposure limit values. The values in question are the atmospheric limit values for 16 substances stated in the table. The list was updated at the end of December 2017 by Directive 2017/2398 (to be transposed into national law by 17 January 2020). The binding EU occupational exposure limit values must be adopted as minimum standards by the Member States. The EU binding occupational exposure limit values are not limits (AGWs) in the sense of Section 2 (8) of the German Ordinance on hazardous substances (GefStoffV), below which acute or chronic harmful effects upon health need not generally be anticipated.

In response to a proposal by the AGS Committee for Hazardous Substances, the German Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (BMAS) has issued other assessment criteria for numerous substances for which EU occupational exposure limit values exist. Additional measures are required where these criteria are exceeded. These national assessment criteria are also stated in the table. During the definition of measures and protective measures, consideration must be given to other aspects including the provisions and requirements of the relevant substance-specific Technical Rules for Hazardous Substances (TRGS), where they exist.

Substances with EU binding occupational exposure limit values (as of June 2018):

EU directive EU limit value National assessment criteria Source
Acrylamide 2004/37/EC 0.1 mg/m3 AC: 0.07 mg/m3
TC: 0.15 mg/m3
TRGS 910
Asbestos 2009/148/EC 100,000 F/m3 15,000 F/m3 TRGS 517, 519
Benzene 2004/37/EC 3.25 mg/m3 AC: 0.2 mg/m3
TC: 1.9 mg/m3
TRGS 910
Bromoethylene (vinyl bromide) 2004/37/EC 4.4 mg/m3 AGW: 4.4 mg/m3 TRGS 900
1,3-Butadiene 2004/37/EC 2.2 mg/m3 AC: 0.5 mg/m3
TC: 5 mg/m3
TRGS 910
Chromium (VI) compounds 2004/37/EC 0.005 mg/m3
(as chromium)
0.001 mg/m3 (IF) TRGS 910
1,2-Epoxypropane (propylene oxide) 2004/37/EC 2.4 mg/m3 AGW: 2.4 mg/m3 TRGS 900
Ethylene oxide 2004/37/EC 1.8 mg/m3 AC: 0.2 mg/m3
TC: 2 mg/m3
TRGS 910
Hardwood dusts 2004/37/EC 2 mg/m3 (IF) 2 mg/m3 (IF)/
5 mg/m3 (IF)
Issued by the BMAS
BArbBl. (2006) No 12, p. 172
Hydrazine 2004/37/EC 0.013 mg/m3 AC: 2.2 µg/m3
TC: 22 µg/m3
TRGS 910
Lead and inorganic lead compounds 98/24/EC 0.15 mg/m3 0.1 mg/m3 TRGS 505
2-Nitropropane 2004/37/EC 18 mg/m3 AC: 0.18 mg/m3
TC: 1.8 mg/m3
TRGS 910
Refractory ceramic fibres 2004/37/EC 0.3 F/ml AC: 0.01 F/ml
TC: 0.1 F/ml
Aluminium silicate fibres
TRGS 910
Respirable Crystalline silica dust 2004/37/EC 0.1 mg/m3 0.05 mg/m3 Issued by the BMAS, GMBl. (2016) No 31, p. 623
o-Toluidine 2004/37/EC 0.5 mg/m3 Manufacture/use only in enclosed systems

AGW: 0.5 mg/m3
GefStoffV, Annex II (6)

TRGS 900
Vinyl chloride 2004/37/EC 2.6 mg/m3 AGW: 2.6 mg/m3 TRGS 900

AC = acceptable concentration
TC = tolerable concentration
IF = inhalable fraction
F = fibres
AGW = occupational exposure limit (GefStoffV Section 2 (8))


Dr Wolfgang Pflaumbaum

Staff function Hazardous substances

Tel: +49 2241 231-2712
Fax: +49 2241 231-2234