The objective of this brochure is to give an overview of the different aspects of and approaches to deriving OELs for protecting workers in the context of chemical risk management.
In enterprises that carry out operations involving dangerous substances or in which dangerous substances can develop or be released, all the hazards to the health and safety of the employees must be evaluated by the employer, or by persons appointed by the employer, such as safety experts or the company physician. Occupational exposure limits (OELs) are important evaluation criteria for determining possible exposure and the appropriate technical, organisational, and, in certain cases, personal protective measures. It must be ensured that employee exposure does not exceed the OELs. Furthermore, there must be regular checks to ensure that OELs are being complied with through measurements at the workplace or other suitable methods of exposure determination.
Depending on the hazard potential of substances or on the possible exposure route, different states and communities have developed different procedures for determining limit values and additional notations. A distinction is made between air limit values and biological limit values.
The ISSA Chemistry Section would hereby like to make a contribution to the understanding of how limit values are derived and of how important it is to apply them. The brochure is supplemented by a web application, which is available at



Occupational Exposure Limits

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Further Information


Dr. Joachim Sommer
Kurfürsten Anlage 62
69115 Heidelberg
Tel: +49 (0) 6221 5108 28213