Working with a hazardous substance with low risk significantly reduces the occupational health and safety effort for this substance. This is already evident in its definition as a low risk substance.

Definition of hazardous substance with low risk

The term “hazardous substance” and the attribute “low risk” are both terms from the Ordinance on Hazardous Substances (Gefahrstoffverordnung) and therefore part of the German chemicals law.

The risk of a hazardous substance is deemed low if the general protection measures of the Ordinance on Hazardous Substances in accordance with Article 8 have been found to be sufficient to protect the worker. Reasons for the low risk can include the following:

  • Risk associated with the hazardous substance
  • Small quantity used
  • Low exposure in terms of exposure level and duration

According to the Technical Rules for Hazardous Substances (TRGS) 400, a risk is never low when the activity with the hazardous substance takes place in confined spaces or vessels. A low risk is also not present where corrosive hazardous substances are concerned, if skin contact with these substances cannot be ruled out.

Effects of low risk

In case of low risk, a detailed documentation for the risk assessment is not required (Article 6 (10) GefStoffV). Apart from the general protection measures, no further measures are required. This also means that operating instructions are not required and the hazardous substance does not need to be included in the hazardous substances index.

 

Sources: Ordinance on Hazardous Substances (GefStoffV), consolidated version, April 2017 version

Technical Rules for Hazardous Substances (TRGS) 400, risk assessment for activities with hazardous substances, as of 13/09/2012

Internet presence of the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health