Unit 4.2 Health Surveillance, Biological Monitoring
The medical aspects of occupational safety comprise occupational safety measures which require an individual medical assessment of the employees' health status in relation to his or her performed task. The unit deals with occupational medical surveillance in the case of exposures to hazardous chemical agents and biological agents as well as other preventive occupational health care measures. It counsels the Occupational Medicine Committee and the Committee on Hazardous Substances, and conducts research projects on medical examinations in occupational safety and health.
Biological monitoring is a methodology that can be applied to risk assessment in case of exposure to hazardous chemical agents both on an individual and on a workplace level. The unit conducts research in this field of activity on:
- Measurement strategies and methods of sampling for biological monitoring,
- In-plant implementation of biological monitoring,
- Exposure assessment through biological monitoring in field studies,
- Chemical analysis in biological materials.
The unit operates a laboratory for analyses in biological material and has expertise in the identification of organic and inorganic biological monitoring parameters in blood and urine. An in-house developed analysis platform allows for the biological monitoring of volatile, organic substances in exhaled air. The unit trains chemical laboratory assistants.
To make the application of biological monitoring in everyday practice easier the unit maintains the freely accessible biological monitoring information system of the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA) (Biomonitoring-Auskunftssystem). This service allows for a search for analysis methods and assessment values starting from the respective hazardous substance. Furthermore the unit hosts the conference series "Biomonitoring in der Praxis".