Exposure Limits: Germany

Rules for limiting exposure to hazardous substances in the workplace are published in Germany by the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (Bundesanstalt für Arbeitsschutz und Arbeitsmedizin - BAuA) in Technical Rules for Hazardous Substances (Technische Regeln für Gefahrstoffe) TRGS 900: Occupational exposure limits (Arbeitsplatzgrenzwerte). This document was reissued in January 2006 with significant changes to the list of substances for which occupational exposure limits have been assigned. In addition, the publication removed the previous MAK (Maximale ArbeitsplatzKonzentrationen) and TRK (Technische Richtkonzentrationen) designations from substances. The current list is divided into Category I and II substances:

  • Category I: substances for which the local effect has an assigned OEL or substances with a respiratory sensitizing effect.
  • Category II: substances with a resorptive effect.

BAT values (Biologische Arbeitsstofftoleranzwerte - Biological Tolerance Values) are listed in TRGS 903. Currently, nickel and nickel compounds are regulated as follows:

  • Nickel as metallic nickel, nickel sulfide and sulfidic ores, nickel oxide, and nickel carbonate: 0.5 mg Ni/m3 (calculated as nickel in total dust).
  • Nickel compounds in the form of inhalable droplets: 0.05 mg Ni/m3 (calculated as nickel in total dust).

Currently Germany has proposed changing the TRK for nickel as metallic nickel, nickel sulfide and sulfidic ores, nickel oxide, and nickel carbonate from 0.5 mg Ni/m3 (calculated as nickel in total dust) to 0.05 mg Ni/m3 (Table 9-1).