Thomas Köhler

Thomas Köhler is a lawyer and started working in 1982 in the law department of the German Social Accident Insurance Institution for the Chemical Industry. Since 1985, he has held different leading positions as Department Manager and Chief Department Manager in the main administration office and as Managing Director of several regional administration offices. He became Vice Head of the main administration office in 1995 and Head of the main administration office in 2007.

In 2010, after the fusion of the Chemical German Social Accident Insurance Institution with five other German Social Accident Insurance Institutions, Thomas Köhler became President of the Managing Board of the German Social Accident Insurance Institution for the Raw Materials and Chemical Industry (BG RCI) and since 2019, he has worked as CEO of the BG RCI.

Prof. Dr. Hanspeter Naegeli

Hanspeter Naegeli, Professor of Toxicology, studied veterinary medicine at the University of Zurich and received his doctoral degree in 1989. After a stay abroad at two American medical schools, he returned to Switzerland in 1993 to establish the Division of Toxicology at the then newly founded Institute of Veterinary Pharmacology and Toxicology at the University of Zurich. Today he is director of the institute of the same name. In addition, Prof. Naegeli has several expert functions, including chairing the GMO Panel at the European Food Safety Authority.

Carcinogenesis und toxicological mode of action

Carcinogenesis is a complex multistage process that has a latency period of years or decades between initial carcinogen exposure and the appearance of manifest tumors. The process advances through three successive stages, termed initiation, promotion and progression. The initiation phase is characterized by the occurrence of irreversible genetic damage, resulting in chromosomal aberrations and gene mutations that activate protooncogenes (i.e., stimulators of cell proliferation) and inactivate tumor suppressor genes (i.e., triggers of senescence and cell death). The promotion phase involves clonal expansion of initiated cells. Finally, in the progression phase, additional genetic alterations give rise to malignant cancer cells that grow invasively and form metastases. Carcinogenic substances can act on all three phases of carcinogenesis (complete carcinogens) or only on individual steps. Accordingly, a distinction is made between initiators (genotoxic carcinogens) and promoters. Tumor promoters typically act via epigenetic (i.e., non-genotoxic) mechanisms to stimulate proliferation and inhibit cell death. This distinction between toxicological modes of action determines the course of dose-response relationships (with or without threshold) and are, therefore, of central importance for worker protection.

Lauranne Verines-Jouin

Scientific coordinator at the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety (ANSES).

Holder of an Engineer‘s degree in chemistry, Lauranne Verines-Jouin works at ANSES since 2010, at first in the Regulated products Assessment Department and now in the Unit of Chemicals Assessment in the Risk Assessment Department. She is in charge of topics related to occupational health such as the identification of carcinogenic process, substitution and in particular the identification of alternatives to formaldehyde in some activity sectors. She conducted the work on the risk assessment for professionals exposed to products used for nail care and decoration.

Carcinogenic processes or occupational activities - the French approach of classification for the cytostatic agents

The French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety (ANSES) has been requested by the French Ministry of Labor to determine whether some processes (e.g work involving exposure to welding fumes, work involving exposure to cytostatic agents) could fall within the scope of the Ministerial Order establishing the list of carcinogenic substances, mixtures and processes, enabling the transposition of Annex I of Directive 2004/37/EU into French law. In order to be included in the Ministerial Order, a substance, mixture or process must meet the criteria for classification as a Category 1A or 1B carcinogen as set out in the CLP Regulation, or criteria that can be considered equivalent to them.

Concerning the request on cytostatic agents, discussions within the working group led to focus on "active principle ingredients of cytotoxic/cytostatic anti-cancer drugs" whose mechanisms of action act through direct cytotoxicity on cells via effects on DNA or on cell replication processes. These active principle ingredients are able to induce carcinogenic effects regardless of the level of exposure. The literature review did not identify epidemiological studies of sufficient quality to conclude overall on the carcinogenicity of cytotoxic/cytostatic anti-cancer active ingredients in workers. The active principle ingredients of cytotoxic/cytostatic anti-cancer drugs with a marketing authorization in France for human and/or veterinary uses were therefore listed excluding those used in hormonotherapy and immunotherapy and as non-conjugated monoclonal antibodies.

Active principle ingredients classified as Category 1A and 1B carcinogens according to the CLP Regulation or classified by IARC in Groups 1 and 2A, whose classification criteria are deemed equivalent to those of the CLP, were retained as first line. As second line, the agents classified in the highest categories by the US EPA, NTP, ACGIH® and the GHS in Japan, were considered on a case by case analysis. Information on the risk of secondary cancers in patients treated by chemotherapy was also collected for some cytotoxic/cytostatic anti-cancer drugs for which carcinogenicity concerns were raised from experimental and/or clinical data as cited in the summary of product characteristics (SCP). This work leads therefore to the proposal of 18 active principle ingredients for inclusion in the Ministerial Order.

Odile Kerkhof

Holder of an Engineer‘s degree in Biology with a specialization in Toxicology and Safety in Health and Environment, Odile Kerkhof works at ANSES in the Unit of Chemicals Assessment in the Risk Assessment Department of the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety (ANSES) as a scientific coordinator. She is in charge for example of topics related to occupational health, substitution, assessment of occupational exposure to improve the recognition of occupational diseases.

Comparison of alternatives to hazardous substances: A Methodology and its implementation to formaldehyde

The French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety (ANSES) has been requested by national Authorities for an “Opinion on the use of substitutes for formaldehyde in various sectors of activity", in view of the carcinogenic properties of formaldehyde and the priority given to substitution in terms of occupational risk management. Before specifically answering this request, ANSES decided to first develop a method to compare and assess substitutes. The scientific literature on the subject was reviewed to define a working method that could then be applied not only in the various sectors of activity targeted by the request on formaldehyde, but also for any other hazardous substances. The method developed is divided into two broad steps. The first step involves studying the various alternatives identified through literature search and interviews of field professionals through three successive modules: “technical performance", “regulation” and “hazard”, each containing exclusion criteria in order to rule out non-relevant potential alternatives. The second step involves studying the remaining alternatives more in depth through four modules in parallel: “hazard”, “estimation of substitution costs”, “exposure conditions” and “other impacts”. In conclusion, the method developed follows a multi-criteria approach. Not solely comparing the hazards of alternatives, the method developed provides a comparison of the alternatives with their advantages and disadvantages, in order to enable the decision-makers to retain the best option, with full knowledge of the facts, in view of the criterias they consider high-priority and acceptable. The implementation of this method to the substitution of the uses of formaldehyde in embalming processes will be presented as an example.

Dr. Eberhard Nies, Dipl.-Biol.

Institute for Occupational Safety and Health of the German Social Accident Insurance (IFA), Sankt Augustin, Germany

  • Since 2008  
    Deputy Head of Division “Exposure Risk Assessment”
  • Since 1993  
    Head of Subdivision “Toxicology of Industrial Chemicals”
  • 2001-2002   
    European Agency for Safety and Health at Work, Bilbao, Spain
  • 1990-1993   
    Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Bonn, Germany
  • 1989-1990   
    Faculty of Medicine, Valencia University, Spain
  • 1989              
    Ph.D. degree (Biology), Institute of Toxicology, Mainz, Germany
Different approaches to the deriving of occupational exposure limits for carcinogenic substances

Deriving atmospheric exposure limits for carcinogenic substances presents particular problems. Owing to the potentially serious repercussions for health of elevated exposure to these substances, the requirements concerning safety are a matter of public interest. Where available, a toxicological threshold may serve as a basis for a health-based occupational exposure limit. Toxicological thresholds remain elusive for many carcinogens, however. Competing models exist for the regulation of such substances. These are based upon the risk of a disease developing, or upon the state of the art, specifically the ALARA principle ("as low as reasonably achievable"). The European Union employs a combination of different approaches in its complicated procedure for the setting of limits. Due to the major practical relevance of certain carcinogens, including certain metals and their compounds, the decision-making process is influenced by socio-economic considerations.

Heinz Schmid

Since 2018, Heinz Schmid has been working in the field of OSH in the prevention department of the Austrian Workers’ Compensation Board (AUVA). His main duties there are the safe handling of hazardous substances and chemicals relating to regulatory aspects (OSH, chemicals law). Further, he has working experience as a chemical laboratory assistant, as a specialist in chemical law and chemical safety, and as a legal counsel in different companies.

Education: vocational education as chemical laboratory assistant, degree in law (Mag. iur - University of Vienna), master's degree in technical environmental management and ecotoxicology (MSc - University of Applied Sciences Technikum Wien).

Occupational Exposure Limits under the Carcinogens and Mutagens Directive

The Directive 2004/37/EC on the protection of workers from the risks related to exposure to carcinogens or mutagens at work lays down minimum requirements. These determines maximum limits for workers' exposure to certain carcinogens or mutagens (limit values). Recent years this Directive had several amendments. The 3rd revision must be implemented in the member states latest by July 11, 2021. The Directives 4th revision is in preparation. The lecture will give a brief overview of the status of the occupational exposure limit values within this Directive and the regulatory implementation in Austria. The discussion of the extension of Directive 2004/37/EC to reprotoxic substances will be briefly addressed as well.

Dr. rer. nat. Martin Wieske

Head Occupational Health and Safety - German Non-Ferrous Metals Association WirtschaftsVereinigung Metalle (WVMetalle)

  • Abitur and technical training in a medium-sized engineering company
  • Study of biology at the University of Münster and the Humboldt University of Berlin
  • PhD in cell biology at the Max Delbrück Center in Berlin (an institute of the Helmholtz Association)
  • Postgraduate studies at the Fritz Haber Institute of the Max Planck Society and the Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin
  • Since 2004 responsible at WVMetalle for all issues of occupational health and safety, classification and labelling and hazardous substance management
  • Member of the Working Party on Chemicals in the workplace within the Advisory Committee on Safety and Health (ACSH) of the European Commission
  • Chair of the Eurometaux (EM) Science Task Force
  • Member of the German Committee on Hazardous Substances (AGS)
  • Vice chair of the AGS subcommittee I (UA I) Hazardous substance management
  • Member of the AGS subcommittee III (UA III) Hazard risk assessment
  • Chair of the AGS subcommittee I working group on carcinogenic substances
  • Chair of the AGS subcommittee I working group on REACH and OSH
  • Chair of the AGS subcommittee II working group dealing with a national technical rule on workplace measures for carcinogenic metals
  • Member of German accident insurance system group Fachbereich Holz und Metall
Implementation of the risk-based approach, illustrated by the example of metals

With the amendment of the Hazardous Substances Ordinance at the beginning of 2005, all former technically based air limit values became obsolete. At the same time, the Committee for Hazardous Substances developed the risk concept for carcinogenic substances and also derived new assessment standards for metals and metal compounds. In many cases, this has posed major problems for operational practice and continues to do so. With the development of a TRGS for activities involving carcinogenic metals and metal compounds (TRGS 561), a hazard-related approach was taken to describe the typical hazards that occur with specific groups of substances and to select the necessary protective measures. The measures described in the TRGS 561 provide the employer with information on how exposure can be reduced to at least below the tolerance concentration. Ultimately, the aim is to fall below the acceptance concentration, the occupational exposure limit or the assessment standard from substance-specific TRGS. Rules and guidelines issued by the accident insurance institutions provide additional information on the implementation of the necessary protective measures.

Dr. rer. nat. Astrid Smola

University education: Chemistry, University Merseburg
Academic degree: Dr. rer. nat., University Merseburg

Scientist at the Research Institute for Virus Diseases of Animals on the island of Riems, Germany

Since 1997 Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, deputy head of Department IIIb3 "Chemical Safety, Biological Safety, Physical Agents". Responsible for the further development of the Hazardous Substances Ordinance and the Biological Substances Ordinance; Supervision of the Committee for Hazardous Substances and the Committee for Biological Agents.

Dr. Romy Marx

Scientific Officer

Romy Marx did her PhD thesis in Biochemistry focussing on electrophysiology of neural cells. Since 2011, she is working in the unit for Hazardous Substance Management at BAuA. Her main fields of expertise are the regulation of carcinogenic agents at work on national and EU level and the strategic advancement of the interplay of OSH and REACH.

Dr. Michael Au

Dr. Michael Au holds a PhD in Chemistry and has been working as Head of Division in the Hessian Ministry for Social Affairs and Integration since 1995. His activities focus on hazardous substances and chemicals legislation, laws for work spaces, physical stress factors (e. g. noise, vibrations), ergonomics and explosives legislation. He is Head of the GDA Work Program „Safe Handling of Carcinogenic Substances” which implements many of the strategic approaches of the European campaign „Roadmap on Carcinogens” in Germany. He is member of the Committee for Hazardous Substances (Ausschuss für Gefahrstoffe – AGS) being involved in all activities that aim at protecting employees from hazardous carcinogenic substances.

From 1986 to 1992, he worked in different environmental protection areas in the Senate Administration of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg. From 1992 to 1995, he was responsible for hazardous substances and chemicals legislation, as well as homeworker protection, maternity protection and youth worker protection law.

Dr. Michael Au is author is many specialist publications about the above-mentioned topics.

Dr. Thomas Brock

Thomas H. Brock holds an PhD (Dr. rer. nat.) in Chemistry and is a state-approved labour inspector. He is department head of Hazardous Substances, Biological Agents and Analytical Chemistry of BG RCI in Heidelberg and is in the chair of the DGUV expert committee on Hazardous substances as well as the committee on laboratory safety, publishing guidelines on safe work with chemicals, DGUV-approved analytical methods for the determination of cancerogenic substances or developing web portals and tools for training purposes for safe work with nanomaterials in laboratories or in student laboratories, e. g. The expert committees edit more than 400 publications on different aspects of chemical safety and safety in laboratories. He is author or co-author of several books on nanotechnology and laboratory safety. “Working Safely in Laboratories—Guidelines for Laboratories” has been the German standard for safe lab work for more than 70 years.

Dr. Elke Schneider

Elke Schneider, currently senior project manager in EU-OSHA´s prevention and research unit, has been managing projects at EU-OSHA since 2002, on a variety of topics, incl. the management of dangerous substances at workplaces. She was involved in setting up the Agency’s European risk observatory and in charge of the “Occupational Safety and Health in figures” project combining occupational health and safety statistics at the European and national level and occupational safety and health research information. She has also coordinated activities related to the topic of dangerous substances, incl. biological agents, at EU-OSHA, incl. two campaigns on dangerous substances, with a particular emphasis on workplace carcinogens.

Elke has a degree in technical chemistry / biochemistry and a doctorate in technical sciences from the Technical University of Vienna, Austria. Before joining EU-OSHA in 2002, Elke Schneider worked as deputy head of unit for European and International Affairs at the central authority of the Austrian Labour Inspection within the Federal Ministry of Economics and Labour, now Federal Ministry of Labour. She has been a national delegate to the EU Commission and Council and involved in cooperation with SLIC (the Senior Labour Inspectors’ Committee) and many other stakeholders. She has also been a member in the Austrian Association of Toxicologists.

Antje Ermer

Antje Ermer is a biochemist. Since 1990 she has been working at the German Social Accident Insurance Institution for the Chemical Industry, since 2010 BG RCI. „RCI“ stands for “Raw materials and Chemical Industry”. Her focal points were e. g. the establishment of the Hazardous Substances Information System „GisChem” as well as activities for the Subcommittee II „Protection Measures” of the Committee on Hazardous Substances.

Now Antje Ermer leads the group for Legal issues concerning Hazardous Substances and Dangerous Goods within the section Hazardous Substances, Biological Agents and Analytics at the BG RCI. Furthermore, she is the head of the working group „Dangerous Substances” of the International Social Security Association, Section Chemistry.

Self-assessment for activities involving carcinogenic substances – the GDA Hazardous Substances Check

The GDA Hazardous Substance Check is an offer for all those dealing with occupational health and safety at an enterprise and it is an important component of the work program “Safe Handling of Carcinogenic Substances” of the “Joint German Occupational Health and Safety Strategy” (GDA).

With this check, the risks for the employees arising from carcinogenic substances at the workplace can be identified and anticipated efficiently to be able to take effective protective measures. Especially in small and medium sized enterprises, this self-evaluation is intended to facilitate the introduction to the risk assessment.

With this voluntary tool, the users from the enterprises can check and evaluate how well they conducted the risk assessment for activities involving carcinogenic substances. The check provides specific aids as to what needs to be done and allows enterprises to realize necessary duties and measures or to improve their implementation.

The GDA Hazardous Substance Check comprises nine components, each component consisting of three to five questions. Answering all questions, the user has to decide whether the appropriate requirements were fulfilled, partly fulfilled or not fulfilled. At the end he or she obtains an overview of the situation in the enterprise and of possibly existing need for action.

Michel Pourquet

  • Trained as a chemical engineer specializing in the design of equipment for the chemical industry.
  • During the first 15 years of his career, he held various positions in the chemical industry (process development, production manager, management of plant construction projects, deployment of process safety procedures) on sites subject to the European SEVESO directive.
  • Joined the National Research and Safety Institute in 2000 to head the studies and research department in charge of chemical risk prevention (reduction of substance emissions, ventilation of premises, treatment of polluting discharges, personal protective equipment).
  • Since 2014, has been director of the INRS center located near Nancy (main activities: studies and research in occupational health and safety; approx. 400 persons).

Prof. Dr. Andrea Hartwig

Andrea Hartwig is Full Professor of Food Chemistry and Toxicology at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) in Karlsruhe, Germany. She received her Diploma in Chemistry in 1984, finished 1987 her PhD and 1996 her Habilitation in Biochemistry at the University of Bremen, Germany. In 1998 she became Professor for Food Chemistry at the University of Karlsruhe (TH) and 2004 Full Professor for Food Chemistry at the Technical University of Berlin. Since 2010 she joined the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) as Chair for Food Chemistry and Toxicology. Main research activities focus on identifying modes of action of toxic and carcinogenic  metal compounds including metal-based nanomaterials. Furthermore, Andrea Hartwig has been involved for many years in toxicological risk assessment. Since 2007 she is Chair of the German DFG Senate Commission for the Investigation of Health Hazards of Chemical Compounds in the Work Area (MAK Commission), member of the Committee for Hazardous Substances (AGS) in Germany and co-opted member of the Committee for Risk Assessment (RAC) of the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA).

Classification systems and approaches of risk assessment for carcinogenic substances

The classification of carcinogenic substances is one of most demanding tasks in toxicology, and different national and international approaches have been established. Thus, classification within the CLP legislation is based on epidemiological data and animal carcinogenicity studies; the carcinogenic potency is not taken into account. Also, criteria of IARC classification are based predominantly on “hazard”, and thus on the principal carcinogenic property of a substance. Different, in part complimentary approaches have been established in Germany by the DFG Senate Commission for the Investigation of Health Hazards of Chemical Compounds in the Work Area (MAK Commission) and by the Committee for Hazardous Substances (AGS). According to the criteria of the MAK commission the mode of action is critical to decide whether or not an increased cancer risk is given, provided that a proposed MAK or BAT value are complied with. The AGS establishes co-called exposure-risk-relationships, stating calculated additional cancer risks at given exposure levels. These different approaches will be presented and discussed taking formaldehyde as an example.

Prof. Dr. med. Hans Drexler

Univ.-Prof. Dr. med. Hans Drexler studied medicine at Erlangen from 1977 to 1984 at the Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg. He is specialist for dermatology and occupational medicine.

Prof. Drexler is among others member of the Senate Commission for the Investigation of Health Hazards of Chemical Compounds in the Work Area of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) and member of the Committee on Hazardous Substances.

Implementation of knowledge and requirements in occupational safety and medicine

Until 2004, technical standard concentrations (TRK) for carcinogenic agents were issued in Germany according to the ALARA principle ("As Low As Reasonably Achievable"). If these TRK were adhered to, different levels of cancer risk were accepted depending on the substance. The risk-based measures concept is intended to ensure that the cancer risks from carcinogenic hazardous substances in the workplace are comparable. Occupational safety is therefore no longer based on technical feasibility, but on risk. In
preventive occupational health care, statements can be made about the individual risk by means of biomonitoring. If equivalent values for the acceptance and tolerance risk are available, a concrete risk assessment is possible. If biological reference values (BAR) are available, a semi-quantitative statement on risk is possible.      

Annika Wörsdörfer

Ms Wörsdörfer is head of the department National Occupational Safety and Health at the German Trade Union Confederation. She is an advisory member of the National Occupational Safety and Health Conference and is responsible for the employee representation of the Joint German Occupational Safety and Health Strategy.

Furthermore, she supports and coordinates - for the employee side - the Occupational Safety and Health Committees, which were established by the Federal Ministry for Labour and Social Affairs. In the previous appointment period, Ms Wörsdörfer was a member of the Biological Agents Committee and the Occupational Medicine Committee. It is already her second appointment period as vice chairperson in the Committee on Hazardous Substances and the Committee on Work Equipment. At the start of her career, Ms Wörsdörfer completed her training as a laboratory chemist before completing her Diploma in Economic and Labour Law at Hamburg University and her Master of Arts in Development Management at Ruhr University Bochum. Hereafter, Ms Wörsdörfer became a full-time trade union secretary, first at the Industry Union for Mining, Chemistry, and Energy, then at the German Trade Union Confederation. Between 2012 and 2015, the German Trade Union Confederation delegated her to the embassy in Brasilia, where, as a Social and Labour Attaché reporting for the countries Brazil and Chile, she was in charge of the fields Labour and Social Affairs, and Safety and Health.

In connection with her appointment to the Committee on Hazardous Substances, Ms Wörsdörfer was a part of the advisory group for the amendment of the Hazardous Substances Ordinance, and developed proposals for the amendment in the asbestos working group. Also, Ms Wörsdörfer actively supported the National Asbestos Dialogue, and prepared the key points for the future asbestos regulations in the Hazardous Substances Ordinance.

Concept of Measures for Asbestos in Building Reconstruction / (when constructing in existing buildings)

The use of asbestos has been generally prohibited in Germany in 1993, yet three decades later this subject is still of concern in society. Every year, more than 1500 people still die as a consequence of their activities involving asbestos.

The health hazards stemming from asbestos have long been known, and there are strict regulations for activities involving asbestos in the context of demolition, reconstruction, and maintenance. The regulations in the Hazardous Substances Ordinance and the Technical Rules for Hazardous Substances apply mainly to “classic” asbestos products like asbestos cement or weakly bound asbestos and describe protective measures related to the binding form of asbestos fibres.  

Asbestos was also used as an aggregate in plaster, filling putty, tile cement, and other construction chemicals like for instance cement putty. Since 2015, there has been an intense discussion on these findings of asbestos, and it became apparent that buildings which were built, reconstructed, or modernized before October 31st, 1993 (the date of the general prohibition) can be affected by this problem, which applies equally to private, public, and industrial buildings.

Asbestos exposure of employees does not exclusively occur during demolition, reconstruction, and maintenance, but craftlike activities in building reconstruction can also be connected with exposure to asbestos.  

It is therefore necessary to adapt the regulations for asbestos to the new findings on the presence of asbestos in buildings. Since this concerns wide circles of society, the government departments Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, Federal Ministry of the Interior, Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety engaged in the National Asbestos Dialogue with the aim of developing solutions across the legal fields.


The Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs has already introduced the key points of the future asbestos regulations in the Hazardous Substances Ordinance, they combine the results of the Committee of Hazardous Substances Advisory Group on the amendment of the Hazardous Substances Ordinance, as well as those of the National Asbestos Dialogue. Significant key points are:  

  • cooperation and information obligation for the initiator of a construction project
  • risk-related protective measures
  • task- and risk-related qualification

One significant premise for working safely and for a consistent implementation of the required protective measures is the knowledge of materials containing asbestos and of the risks connected with activities involving these materials. An important element in the future regulations is therefore all the employees´ qualification, which, aside from job training and work experience, also includes mandatory basic knowledge of asbestos.

This qualification enables them to safely conduct work procedures and thus minimize exposure. It is the aim to ensure the protection of employees from carcinogenic substances and at the same time allow building reconstruction.

Dr. Maximilian Hanke-Roos

Dr. Hanke-Roos works in the ‚explosion protection‘ group of the department ‘hazardous substances and biological work substances’ at the German Social Accident Insurance Institution for the raw materials and chemical industry (BG RCI). In his role as assistant to the chairman of the Subcommittee II ‘Protection Measures’ of the Committee on Hazardous Substances, he has been concerned with the legislation concerning hazardous substances and the corresponding technical rules since 2016.

Prior to this he studied chemistry in Heidelberg, where he later did his PhD on applied physical chemistry in a cooperation project with the University Hospital Heidelberg. While at the BG RCI he was schooled as specialist for occupational safety.

Dr. Alexander Schneider

  • Since 2018: Research assistant in the area of the Central Exposure Database (ZED) at the Institute for Occupational Safety and Health of the German Social Accident Insurance (IFA) of the German Social Accident Insurance (DGUV)
  • 2018: PhD on chemistry, Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität, Bonn
  • 2013: Diploma in chemistry, Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität, Bonn

Dr. Stefan Engel

Stefan Engel studied chemistry at the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz and received a Ph.D. in organic chemistry in 1994, with both pharmacology and toxicology as subsidiary subjects.

He started his professional career in 1993 as a scientific employee at the Institute for Organic Chemistry at the University of Mainz. Subsequently, he joined BASF SE and worked in different functions in research and process development. He gained experience in international and interdisciplinary projects in Brazil, the Netherlands and the United States. Since 2005 he has been working as Industrial Hygienist. In 2017, he took over the global coordination of the topic in BASF´s Corporate Health Management.

Furthermore, Stefan Engel is involved or is chairing various CEFIC, BDI and VCI working groups. He also represents the interests of chemical industry in different bodies. For example, he is an alternate member of the Advisory Committee of Safety and Health at Work (ACSH) and of Germany´s Hazardous Chemicals Committee (AGS), which is the advisory board to the German Federal Ministry for Labour and Social Affairs (BMAS). Additionally, he works as invited expert in the working group hazardous chemicals of the International Society for Social Security (ISSA).

The Relevance of Closed Systems – Regulatory Aspects and Practical Obstacles

Working with hazardous substances requires appropriate control measures according to the hierarchy of controls so that workers are not exposed to adverse health effects. According to European OSH legislation, technical control measures, in particular closed systems are to be used as a priority to prevent exposure of workers.

In practice, the implementation of this requirement however often raises questions. This includes uncertainties as to how and to what extent closed machines and devices should be used, as well as questions about specific tightness requirements of closed systems. The practitioner on the shop floor is often left alone with this. Even national technical guidance often provides limited advice only as soon as it comes to customizing existing primary containment solutions to the specific needs of the respective task and workplace. These questions have become even more pressing in the recent past against the back-ground of ever lower occupational exposure limits.

The undifferentiated demand for the use of closed systems however, neglects exposure determining parameters such as for example aggregate state or release behavior as well as process parameters such as pressure and temperature. Unfortunately, from a regulatory point of view, risk management concepts are not considered as a whole, which can only achieve such challenging protection levels through interaction of various technical and organizational measures of which the closed system is one element only.

Dr. Andreas Königer

Dr Andreas Königer studied chemistry in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, and made his PhD in organic chemistry in 1992.

Between 1992 and 2010 he worked as a labmanager in various analytical departments of Bayer AG, later of CURRENTA GmbH & Co OHG. His main topics were planning and organization of quality assurance  testing (DIN EN ISO / IEC 17025, GxP), the organization of environmental analyses and the development and implementation of test strategies for REACH-relevant GLP studies.

Since 2010 he is head of the accreditated measuring body for hazardous substances of CURRENTA, and he is working as an occupational health and safety specialist.

Dr Königer is member of several German und international working groups dealing with hazardous substances at workplaces, e.g.:

  • Subcommittee I of the Committee on Hazardous Substances (AGS)
  • AGS-working groups for various Technical Rules on Hazardous substances (TRGS)
  • Working group „Arbeitsstoffe“ of the Federation of German Industries (BDI)
  • Committee on Safety and Health at Work of the German Chemical Industry Association (VCI)
  • Working group „Dangerous Substances“ of the International Social Security Association (ISSA)

Dr Königer is married and has three daughters.

Carcinogenic Substances in the Air at Workplaces – Possibilities and Limitations of Exposure Measurements

Our ambient air is a valuable good. We can not live without it. To recognize and minimize risks due to airborne substances at workplace, it is important to identify and quantify these hazardous substances. This is possible applying suitable sampling procedures and analytical methods. The way how this measurements should be done in best practice and the requirements which have to be fulfilled doing these determinations are described in the Technical Rule for Hazardous Substances TRGS 402.

First of all, suitable sampling procedures and analytical methods have to be developed and validated. Air samples have to be planned, taken, analyzed and evaluated with care and expert knowledge. The effort required is sometimes very high. But experimental exposure measurements are the only alternative to determine the actual situation and the interaction of factors influencing the concentration of substances in the air at workplace to evaluate the inhalative exposure situation in a reliable way.

Nevertheless even experimental measurements have their limits, e. g. at very low concentrations or short activities.

The presentation will give an overview about the procedure of exposure measurements, their possibilities and their limitations.

Dr. rer. nat. Tobias Weiß

1998: Diploma in Chemistry, Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg

From 1998 to 2004: Research associate at the Institute of Occupational, Environmental and Social Medicine, Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg

From 2000 to 2004: Head of the Scientific Secretariat of the Working Group „Analytical Chemistry” of the Senate Commission for the Investigation of Health Hazards of Chemical Compounds in the Work Area of the DFG (MAK-Kommission)

2005: PhD (Dr. rer. nat.) in Analytical Chemistry and Occupational Health Toxicology, Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg (Prof. Jürgen Angerer)

Since 2004: Head of Human Biomonitoring, Institute for Prevention and Occupational Medicine of the DGUV (IPA), Institute of the Ruhr-University Bochum

Member of the Working Group „Biological Exposure Limits” (AK BGW of the UAIII) of the Committee for Hazardous Substances (Ausschuss für Gefahrstoffe – AGS)

Strengths and limitations of biological monitoring

Air measurements at workplaces provide information about the level of hazardous substances employees are exposed to via air. Biological Monitoring or Human Biomonitoring (HBM) measures hazardous substances or their metabolites in the human body and thus shows which quantities of hazardous substances are actually absorbed by inhalation, dermal and, oral routes. HBM has become an important tool in Occupational Medicine and is part of the Ordinance on Hazardous Substances (GefStoffV) and the Ordinance on Occupational Medicine (ArbMedVV).

HBM allows an activity- or workplace-related exposure and risk assessment on an individual basis as well as the evaluation and efficiency check of protective measures taken. For this purpose assessment values are necessary. In the case of carcinogenic substances, these are equivalent values in biological materials for the acceptance and tolerance risk (TRGS 910). However, such values have so far only been derived for nine substances. For a large number of other substances, so-called reference values can be used as a substitute (AMR 6.2).

Reference values represent the 95th percentile of the background exposure of the general population and are derived in Germany by the MAK Commission (BAR values) and by the Commission for Human Biomonitoring of the Federal Environment Agency (RV95 values) according to defined criteria. Within this presentation examples are used to show how reference values can be used for prevention in practice.

Dr. Martin Gschwind

Dr. Martin Gschwind studied biochemistry and cell biology. After doing research on Alzheimer's disease at Hoffmann La-Roche, he switched to the Swiss National Accident Insurance Fund (Suva) in 1997, where he has held a wide variety of functions. As a safety engineer / occupational hygienist and supervisor, he has dealt with chemical and biological risks at workplaces from the very beginning. He became Head of the chemistry section in 2006 and Head of the occupational health Division three years later. Since 2019 he is working preliminary on the strategic development of Suva's prevention work as scientific expert and deputy Head of staff of the Health Protection Department. Among other things, Martin Gschwind has been a long-standing member of the Swiss occupational exposure limit commission and heads the Forum Asbestos Switzerland - the federal information and coordination platform on this topic.