BG/BIA recommendations "Anaesthesia workplaces

Project No. BIA 3063


completed 10/1999


Employees at anaesthesia workplaces in healthcare establishments may be exposed to the gaseous anaesthetics used on the patients. Such employees include anaesthetists in operating theatres and nursing staff in recovery rooms. Nitrous oxide (laughing gas), volatile anaesthetics such as halothane and enflurane, and mixtures of these substances are the principal gaseous anaesthetics employed. Gaseous anaesthetics may be released by leakages on equipment and at the interface to the patient, and may also be exhaled by patients, particularly in recovery rooms. BG/BIA recommendations for anaesthesia workplaces in operating theatres and recovery rooms are intended as a description of safe working conditions for personnel at the workplaces in question.


A large number of exposure measurements were performed at anaesthesia workplaces in healthcare establishments within the framework of the hazardous substances measurement system of the German institutions for statutory accident insurance and prevention (BGMG), and evaluated according to the specified technical boundary conditions. Consideration was also given during evaluation to other results from the literature, a measuring laboratory of the German Länder, and a number of clinics.


The BG/BIA recommendations "Anaesthesia workplaces - operating theatres" and "Anaesthesia workplaces - recovery rooms" describe a number of technical and organizational measures by means of which gaseous anaesthetics may be employed safely. The requisite technical measures include for example facilities for extraction of gaseous anaesthetics, an air conditioning system, and regular inspection and maintenance of the technical facilities. Provided the specified conditions are adhered to, exposure measurements are not required for monitoring of the working areas.

Further informations:

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Financed by:
  • Hauptverband der gewerblichen Berufsgenossenschaften (HVBG)
Research institution(s):
  • Berufsgenossenschaftliches Institut für Arbeitssicherheit - BIA
  • Berufsgenossenschaft Gesundheitsdienst und Wohlfahrtspflege

health service

Type of hazard:

Arbeitsbedingte Gesundheitsgefahren, Gefahrstoffe


Chemische Arbeitsstoffe, Arbeitsumwelt (Belastungen, Gefährdungen, Expositionen, Risiken), Exposition

Description, key words:

Anaesthetist, volatile anaesthetic, nitrous oxide (laughing gas)