Prevention of biological, chemical and physical hazards

People may be exposed to biological hazards (e.g. biological substances), hazardous chemicals and physical hazards (e.g. radiation) at the workplace. These may lead to serious illnesses.

What concepts and measures are effective in preventing adverse impacts on employees‘ health? How can the legal requirements and technical regulations be implemented? What procedure should be followed in the event of an occupational disease? Present your concepts and experience to all experts in a large forum.

Main issues in this category are:

Particular protection is required for employees whose work involves or brings them into contact with microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi, viruses, parasites or for that matter cell cultures. What form of risk assessment is expedient for activities involving biological substances? What limit value concepts exist? What form does implementation of the German Ordinance on Biological Substances take in practice? How do standards and the body of regulations complement each other? The recently adopted SARS-CoV-2 occupational health and safety standard is a concept for workplace measures for protection against infection. What new concepts and arrangements do we have at our disposal with which to counter biological hazards?

Harmful substances can be absorbed by inhalation, skin contact or oral intake. The hazard is a function on the one hand of the properties of the substance, on the other of the level and duration of exposure.

How can hazardous substances be handled safely in company operations? How can the state of the art be assured during tasks involving hazardous substances? What developments have taken place in the technical regulations and their implementation (examples)?

Physical hazards account for a large part of prevention work and risk assessment, since they arise in a particularly wide range of forms at the workplace. They extend from exposure to noise, electromagnetic fields through ultraviolet and to ionizing radiation.

Exposure to UV radiation outdoors has increased in recent years owing to ozone depletion in the atmosphere. The sun’s natural UV radiation has a similar carcinogenic potential to that of asbestos and tobacco smoke. In principle, the protective measures for people working outdoors are no different to those recommended for the general population. However, employees in certain sectors spend more time outdoors for work-related reasons, and are therefore exposed to solar radiation on a greater scale.

Noise-induced hearing loss continues to be one of the most common occupational diseases. How should a risk assessment cover physical hazards? What concepts for protection can be used to address all physical hazards effectively?