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Division 4 Hazardous Substances and Biological Agents

Division 4 is responsible for improving the protection of employees working with hazardous substances and biological agents (pathogens). It describes their risks, evaluates them and suggests measures to lower the risks for the employees to an acceptable level. This work is based on results from research and development (R&D) as well as many years of experience with legal obligations and political consulting.

Current research and development focuses on the following:

  • nanomaterials and innovative materials;
  • health risks caused by exposure to biological agents and intensive use of antibiotics in animal husbandry
  • the easy-to-use workplace control scheme for hazardous substances (EMKG)
  • assessment of exposure to hazardous substances in the workplace and
  • improvement of the communication of hazard and risk reduction needs in the chemical supply chain

The EU ordinance for the regulation of industrial chemicals (REACH), the ordinance for the classification, labeling and packaging of chemicals (CLP) and the Chemicals Act for placing on the market of biocidal products form the basis of the legal tasks of the division. Division 4 includes the 'Process Lead REACH Assessment Unit OSH' within the framework of REACH and the 'Process Lead Biocides Assessment Unit OSH', which is part of the authorization of biocidal products. The most important statutory requirements pertain to the following:

  • Classification and labeling of hazardous substances and mixtures
  • Authorisation and restriction of substances of very high concern
  • Evaluation of selected substances and dossiers as part of the REACH registration
  • Support of small and medium-sized companies with helpdesks
  • Risk evaluation of active substances of biocides, and
  • Authorisation of biocidal products in Germany and mutual recognition of authorisation within the EU

Division 4 focuses its political consulting on further development of the European legislation on substances and its specific implementation in technical guidance. The division supports the Federal Ministry for Labour and Social Affairs (BMAS) in the enhancement and implementation of the hazardous substances and biological substances ordinance as well as the ordinance concerning occupational prevention. One of the key areas is the joint development of technical rules with the social partners, enforcement bodies and scientific services within the Committee on Hazardous Substances (AGS) and the Committee on Biological Agents (ABAS). The division also handles the business management for these committees. Contributions to health surveillance and occupational health counseling of workers when working with hazardous substances are also presented in the Occupational Medicine Committee (AfAMed).


Director and Professor Dr Rüdiger Pipke

Head of Division 4 Hazardous Substances and Biological Agents

Dr Rolf Packroff

Scientific Management Division 4 Hazardous Substances and Biological Agents

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