Hazardous substance

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Hazardous substances are substances or mixtures that can have a harmful effect on humans and the environment during manufacture or use. The substances to which a limit value is assigned are also included . Substances, mixtures and other specific products that are listed in Regulation (EC) No. 1272/2008 (CLP) and meet the criteria are classified as hazardous substances. If substances or mixtures do not meet the criteria for classification according to Regulation (EC) No. 1272/2008 (CLP), this must be clearly indicated.

All information in this article relates to European law on hazardous substances. On 31 December 2008, in Official Journal of the European Union , the Regulation (EC) no. 1272/2008 (CLP) announced. This regulation introduced the globally applicable GHS ( Globally Harmonized System for the Classification and Labeling of Chemicals ) at European level. Hazardous substances are classified and labeled accordingly on the basis of their hazardous properties.


Are hazardous substances in the sense of the Ordinance on Hazardous Substances

  1. dangerous substances and mixtures according to § 3 Hazardous Substances Ordinance ,
  2. Substances, mixtures and products that are explosive ,
  3. Substances, mixtures and products from which dangerous substances arise or are released during manufacture or use,
  4. Substances and mixtures that do not meet the criteria for classification, but can endanger the health and safety of employees due to their physico-chemical, chemical or toxic properties and the way in which they are present or used in the workplace ,
  5. all substances to which an occupational exposure limit has been assigned.

Differentiation from dangerous goods

According to § 1 of the Hazardous Goods Transport Act, the transport of hazardous substances within one or more connected company premises, production, processing, processing, reconditioning, storage, use or disposal, insofar as it takes place in closed premises, has no application. One then no longer speaks of hazardous goods but of hazardous substances. The transport includes not only the change of location, but also the acceptance, delivery and temporary stays that take place in the course of this. The preparatory and final actions for the transport of dangerous goods, such as packing, unpacking, loading and unloading goods, manufacturing, importing and placing on the market of packaging, means of transport and vehicles, do not necessarily have to be carried out by the carrier. A temporary stay is when changing the mode of transport ( Kombiverkehr ), changing the means of transport ( handling ) or for other reasons.

Intake routes

There are four different ways in which hazardous substances can get into the body:

  1. Inhalation , by inhaling gases, vapors, dusts and aerosols , they are absorbed into the body through the nose
  2. Oral , liquids and dust enter the body through the mouth
  3. Dermal , the skin absorbs by absorption liquids, vapors and dusts on
  4. Subcutaneous , by penetration of a foreign body under the skin (e.g. accidentally stabbed in the hand with a needle)

Type of hazardous substance

  1. Toxic substances can cause serious damage to health or death if they are inhaled, swallowed or come into contact with the skin. (Examples of toxic substances are chlorine, aniline, certain pesticides.)
  2. Substances that cause minor, but must be considered, damage to health are slightly toxic. (Examples of slightly toxic substances are methylene chloride, barium carbonate.)
  3. Infectious substances contain viable microorganisms that are known to cause disease in humans and animals. (Examples of infectious substances are cultures of infectious microorganisms, certain infected samples.)
  4. Radioactive substances break down spontaneously and release radiation.
  5. Corrosive substances destroy living tissue (e.g. skin) and also attack solid substances (e.g. metals). (Examples of corrosive substances are sulfuric acid, hydrochloric acid and caustic soda).

Chemicals classified as dangerous substances or mixtures are labeled when they are placed on the market . Regulation (EC) No. 1272/2008 (CLP) contains the corresponding regulations . Hazardous substances can be identified using the hazard pictograms shown in the overview below.

Physical and toxicological hazards

Classification and labeling in the respective GHS pictograms

Explosive substances and mixtures Explosive substances and mixtures are substances which, through a chemical reaction, spread gases from temperature , pressure or speed and cause destruction. The pyrotechnic substances are also included although they do not develop any gas.

Pyrotechnic substances and mixtures: Pyrotechnic substances or mixtures occur with the reaction in the form of gas, heat, light, sound, smoke, fog or a combination that is to be achieved as a series of non- detonating , exothermic chemical reactions.

Unstable explosive substances and mixtures: Unstable explosive substances or mixtures are very sensitive and not thermally stable enough for the corresponding use, transport and application. Explosive articles can contain one or more explosive substances or mixtures.

Pyrotechnic articles: Pyrotechnic articles contain one or more pyrotechnic substances or mixtures. Substances, mixtures or products that are created solely for the purpose of an explosive effect or a pyrotechnic effect.


GHS labeling / CLP regulation
pictogram description Coding Signal word Examples of dangerous properties
GHS-pictogram-explos.svg Exploding bomb GHS01 danger unstable explosive substances, mixtures and products with explosive substance (s), self-reactive substances and mixtures, organic peroxides
GHS-pictogram-flamme.svg flame GHS02 Danger / Caution flammable , self- heating , self-reactive, pyrophoric , water -reactive , organic peroxides
GHS-pictogram-rondflam.svg Flame over a circle GHS03 danger inflammatory ( oxidizing ) effect
GHS-pictogram-bottle.svg gas bottle GHS04 Caution Gases under pressure , compressed , liquefied , refrigerated liquefied, dissolved gases
GHS-pictogram-acid.svg Caustic effect GHS05 Danger / Caution Corrosive to metals , skin corrosive, serious eye damage
GHS-pictogram-skull.svg Skull and crossbones GHS06 danger acute toxicity
GHS-pictogram-exclam.svg thick exclamation
GHS07 Caution skin irritant, eye irritant
GHS-pictogram-silhouette.svg Health hazard GHS08 Danger / Caution various health hazards
GHS-pictogram-pollu.svg environment GHS09 Caution hazardous to the aquatic environment

When hazardous substances are transported on public transport routes, one speaks of dangerous goods - the two terms hazardous substance and dangerous goods are not identical: the hazardous substance label is intended to provide information about the dangers involved in activities involving the classified hazardous substances, the hazardous goods label is based on the transport hazards (e.g. with information for the fire brigade). So not all substances are subject to both provisions. The criteria for the classification of hazardous substances or the classification of hazardous goods are partly based on the globally applicable GHS. Details are regulated in separate ordinances. In addition to chemicals, the term dangerous goods also includes biological materials and products (e.g. batteries, devices, components).

CMR substances

The labeling of carcinogenic , mutagenic or toxic to reproduction substances CMR substances (of C arcinogenic, M utagenic and toxic to R eProduction ) depends on the classification from these substances. There are 2 categories, whereby the knowledge about the danger decreases from 1 to 2:

  • Category 1A : proven from human experience
  • Category 1B : detected in animals, suspected in humans
  • Category 2 : it is assumed that this is the case with humans

A classification in categories 1A, 1B or 2 does not necessarily say anything about the potency of the CMR effect, as the EU classification system does not provide any information on this. It could well be that a CMR suspect (Category 2) has a highly potent effect, but a classification in Category 1A or 1B is not possible due to a lack of sufficiently valid data. As a rule, CMR suspect substances are substances whose effects have not yet been proven in studies with the statistically required accuracy.

The CMR list contains CMR substances that, according to Table 3 of Annex VI of Regulation (EC) No. 1272/2008 (CLP Regulation) up to and including Annex VI of Regulation (EU) No. 2017/776, are classified as carcinogenic, germ cell mutagenic or are classified as toxic to reproduction or are listed in TRGS 905 or 906. The KMR list is created by the Institute for Occupational Safety and Health of the German Social Accident Insurance (IFA) and made available for occupational safety purposes and for information gathering. No liability is accepted.

Legal regulations

The Dangerous Substances Law regulates activities involving hazardous substances. An activity is any work with substances, mixtures or products, including production, mixing, use and consumption, storage, storage, handling and processing, filling and decanting, removal, disposal and destruction. The activities also include in-house transportation as well as operating and monitoring work.

In Germany, the Ordinance on Hazardous Substances is the legal basis. It comprehensively regulates the protective measures for employees when working with hazardous substances. To assist with the implementation of the Ordinance on Hazardous Substances in small and medium-sized companies, model protective guidelines for the design of activities involving hazardous substances have been developed.

Within the EU member states there are European hazardous substances directives that are implemented by the members in national law.

In Austria, the Austrian Chemicals Act (ChemG) is decisive. There are also other laws and ordinances, for example in the area of pollution control law , nature conservation law and waste law .

Activities with hazardous substances

The legislature summarizes all work with hazardous substances under the term activities with hazardous substances . The GESTIS substance database provides information on the safe handling of hazardous substances and other chemical substances in the workplace . As an aid to the implementation of the Ordinance on Hazardous Substances in small and medium-sized enterprises, model protective guidelines for the design of activities with hazardous substances have been developed. For these companies, the GESTIS fabric manager also offers support in setting priorities to reduce the risks.

In general

  • Avoid (substitution requirement)
  • Minimize risks through organizational or technical measures.
  • protect with personal protective equipment if necessary

If possible, switch to non-hazardous substances (substitution principle). Use hazardous substances as little as possible, if necessary separate work areas and / or use special filters in the extraction systems. If that is not enough, personal protective equipment must be made available to employees free of charge.

The following applies to the employer

  • The employer must use the risk assessment to determine whether hazardous substances are present in the workplace and whether there is a risk .
  • Labeling is mandatory for classified hazardous substances.
  • The corresponding safety data sheet must be available.
  • Warning signs must be attached.
  • Employees who carry out activities with hazardous substances must be instructed using operating instructions.
  • Depending on the activity and exposure, regular preventive care is required in accordance with the Ordinance on Occupational Health Care.
  • The employer can use the free Central Exposure Database (ZED) to permanently save and manage data on the exposure of employees to carcinogenic substances.
  • Proof of expertise (expert examination of hazardous substances, formerly "poison test") is required for handling or trading with some hazardous substances. More details are regulated in the "Ordinance on bans and restrictions on the placing on the market and on the supply of certain substances, mixtures and products under the Chemicals Act" ( Chemicals Prohibition Ordinance - ChemVerbotsV).

See also


  • Herbert F. Bender: Safe handling of hazardous substances , 4th edition, Wiley-VCH, 2011, ISBN 978-3-527-32927-4 .
  • Dietmar Breuer, Maria Quintana, Alan Howe, Martine Demange, Carina Lützenkirchen, Silvia Springer, Begoña Uribe, André Ensminger, Niels Haunso, Hajo-Hennig Fricke, Bruno Janis, Göran Lidén, Miklos Naray, Mike Wright: Analytical methods for chemical substances ( PDF; 348 kB) - Results of the EU project “Analytical Methods for Chemical Agents” for the evaluation of methods for measuring hazardous substances in work areas . Hazardous substances - keeping air clean 65 (10), pp. 407–414 (2005), ISSN  0949-8036 .
  • Information service for hazardous substances up-to-date , mediaforwork, a division of VNR Verlag for Deutsche Wirtschaft AG, Bonn, ISSN  1865-231X .
  • Stefan Gabriel, Ulrike Koch, Dorothea Koppisch, Roger Stamm, Marco Steinhausen: New challenges for the determination, documentation and evaluation of exposure data on hazardous substances . In: Hazardous substances - Keeping the air clean , Vol. 72, Issue 1/2 (2012), pp. 12–20, ISSN  0949-8036 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b Company ASECOS: laws and regulations; Storage and handling of hazardous substances . March 2017.
  2. ↑ Make working with hazardous substances safe. Retrieved June 1, 2018 .
  3. Hazardous substances. baua , accessed June 5, 2018 .
  4. Briefing module on hazardous substances. (PDF) LZK , accessed on June 5, 2018 .
  5. Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure: The transport of dangerous goods . January 1, 2015.
  6. Art. 2 Regulation (EC) No. 1272/2008 Definitions 4., see lit. UBA Guide, p. 20.
  7. Deutsche Gesetzliche Unfallversicherung eV (DGUV): List of carcinogenic, germ cell mutagenic and reproductive toxic substances (KMR substances). Retrieved November 6, 2018 .
  8. ^ Institute for Occupational Safety and Health of the German Statutory Accident Insurance (IFA): List of carcinogenic, germ cell mutagens and substances toxic to reproduction (KMR list). Retrieved November 6, 2018 .
  9. Protective guidelines
  10. Chemicals Act 1996 (Austria)
  11. ^ Courses - Institute for Environmental Law, Johannes Kepler University Linz (gives a good overview of the legal situation).
  12. Search mask for Austrian laws in ris.bka , hazardous substances law is federal law (Austria)
  13. Protective guidelines