GHS SDS Preparation Tip 2: How to Find and List Occupational Exposure Limits

Little Pro on 2017-10-06

It is a legal requirement that applicable occupational exposure limits (OELs) be given in GHS SDS section 8. Considering that different countries may have developed different occupational exposure limits for the same chemical substances, you cannot simply put 1 value in your global SDS. In this article, we will show you how to quickly find international occupational exposure limits and list them in the section 8 of GHS SDS.

Types of Occupational Exposure Limits

There are usually 3 types of occupational exposure limits. Not all of them are available for a hazardous chemical agent.

  • Time Weighted Average (TWA): TWA is the average exposure level over an 8 hour time period (normal work shift) that workers can be exposed to without unacceptable health risks. 
  • Short-Term Exposure Limit (STEL): STEL is the concentration that workers can be exposed to continuously for a short period of time (usually 15 minutes) without risking acute effects.
  • Ceiling value (STEL-C): Concentration that should not be exceeded during any part of the work day.

The common units of OELs include ppm and mg/m3.

How to Find International Occupational Exposure Limits

The easiest way to find international occuptional exposure limits is to use GESTIS. It is a free database containing a collection of occupational limit values for hazardous substances gathered from various EU member states, Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland, China, and the United States. Limit values of almost 1,800 substances are listed.

For example, if you search Acetonitrile or CAS No. 75-05-8 in GESTIS, all OELs in different countries will pop up.

GESTIS Occupational Exposure Limits

How to List Occupational Exposure Limits in Section 8

For substances, occupational exposure limit values must be give if applicable (depending on availability and destination market). For mixtures, all applicable exposure limit values for individual harmful substances must be listed. In EU, available Derived No-effect Levels (DNELs) must also be listed if there is no applicable union exposure limit or national exposure limit value.

If you supply your product to just one country, you only need to list the applicable occupational exposure limit value for that country. If you wish to supply your product to multiple countries and use one SDS, you may list different the limit values as what Gestis database has shown you above.


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 Tags: Topics - GHSGHS SDS and Labelling