DACH respiratory protection information with FAQ
Occupational exposure limits are an important instrument for protecting employees from risks to their health and safety from hazardous substances.

Occupational exposure limit (AGW)

Occupational exposure limits are an important instrument for protecting employees from risks to their health and safety from hazardous substances. The previous limit values MAK and TRK have been replaced by the occupational limit value. According to Section 3, Paragraph 6 of the Ordinance on Hazardous Substances (GefStoffV), the occupational exposure limit values indicate the concentration of a substance at which acute or chronically harmful effects on health are generally not to be expected. The occupational exposure limit values are established on the basis of occupational medical experience and toxicological knowledge. The determination is based on exposure for eight hours on five days a week during the working life.
The occupational exposure limit values are given in mg / m3 and ml / m3 (ppm). The limit values are set by the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and published in the Technical Rule for Hazardous Substances 900 (TRGS 900) *.

* As a service we provide this information exclusively for our customers.

Hazard analysis

The Occupational Safety and Health Act obliges all companies to carry out a risk analysis at workplaces. Part of the risk analysis is to determine pollutants and their concentrations. The following points must be checked:

    • The nature and extent of the risk
    • Duration of the risk
    • Probability of risk

The risk analysis is intended to create the basis for selecting the right respiratory protection.

Choosing the right respiratory protection

The selection of suitable respiratory protection requires that the risk analysis has been carried out and that the limit values are known. The following table provides information on the application limits for particle-filtering respiratory protection masks.

FFP14-foldNot against carcinogenic and radioactive substances as well as airborne biological agents of risk groups 2 and 3 and enzymes.
FFP210-foldNot against radioactive substances and airborne biological agents of risk group 3 and enzymes.

Selection guide

Pollutant    Filter class
Aluminium smoke       P2
Aluminium dust    P2
Asbestos    P2
Asbestos from 50,000 fibres per m³ P3
Bacteria (risk group 2) P2
Cotton dust P2
Concrete P2
Lead dust P2
Calcium oxide P2
Chrome smoke P3
Diesel soot P2
Iron oxides P2
Paint / varnish P2
Paint / varnish with Chromate P3
Flax P2
Glass fibre/mineral wool P2
Graphite P2
Wood dust P2
Copper smoke P2
Copper dust P2
Soldering P2
Magnesium oxide P2
Masonry P2
Flour dust P2
Waste sorting P3
Nickel P3
Plant protection agent P2
Fungal spores P2
Platinum P3
Pollen P2
Quartz P2
Rust P2
Grate P1
Anti-rust paint P2
Anti-rust coating with Chromate P3
Sulphuric acid P3
General welding fumes P2
Silver P3
Silicon carbide P2
Putty P1
Steel P2
Steel anti-fouling paints P3
Steel, high-alloy P3
Stone P1
Stone with quartz content P2
Talcum powder P2
Viruses/bacteria (risk group 3) P3
Cement P2
Zinc oxide smoke P2
Tin P2

The filter classes given above indicate the minimum requirements. It is the responsibility of the user to carefully check whether the respiratory protection masks used meet the requirements with regard to hazardous substance and concentration before using a breathing apparatus. Please note the information in the instructions for use of the respective respiratory protection mask. All information has been compiled to the best of our knowledge. No guarantee is given for the correctness.

How long can respirators be worn?

The wearing time of the respirator depends on the stress of the individual case. If the breathing resistance is damaged or the breathing resistance increases, the mask must be changed immediately.

Where can I find information on the wearing time limit of breathing apparatus?

The wearing time limit results from the activity-related risk assessment, in which the occupational physician is involved. Information on the wearing time limitation is contained in the BG rule "Use of respiratory protective equipment" (BGR 190).

Can minors work with respiratory protection?

Young people under the age of 18 are only allowed to carry out work in which they are exposed to the harmful effects of hazardous substances within the meaning of the Chemicals Act if this is necessary to achieve the training objective. This only applies to breathing apparatus that do not require a preventive examination according to G 26. Otherwise, in exceptional cases, an occupational physician must be called in.

How is the holding time of particle filtering half masks classified in infection protection?

According to the trade association rule for safety and health at work (BGR) 190 "Use of respiratory protective equipment", particle-filtering half masks should be replaced if there is "unreasonably high breathing resistance or at the latest after a work shift", since cleaning and disinfecting these masks is neither possible nor intended. When handling airborne biological agents, the masks must be included in the necessary hygiene measures. In the context of infection protection, it makes sense to dispose of particle-filtering half masks after a single use in order to avoid contamination. Single use refers to the period of continuous use of these masks limited by removal from the mouth and nose area. This means, for example, that a caregiver or cleaning person who takes the mask off the face during the break will then also dispose of this mask. The same applies to a doctor who has to examine several patients and takes off his mask after examining a patient affected by an infection. The definition of exact measures takes place in the context of the respective risk assessment.

What is meant by storage time?

Respiratory protective devices guarantee that they are still fully operational and functional even after a long period of storage. The storage time of particle filtering half masks is limited to 5 years if stored properly. According to EN 149: 2001, the manufacturer must mark the storage time on the packaging. The storage periods set by the manufacturer for breathing apparatus and their components must be observed.

Suitable protective clothing when handling cytostatics
Cytostatics are highly potent drugs and pose a potential hazard to anyone who works with them.