Handling hazardous substances
The handling of hazardous substances is regulated on a national level by the Chemicals Act (Chemikaliengesetz; ChemG), with the Ordinance on Hazardous Substances (Gefahrstoffverordnung; GefStoffV) and a large number of Technical Rules (TRGS) specifying the practical implementation of the Chemicals Act.
Hazardous substances may be explosive, oxidising, easily flammable, extremely flammable, harmful to health, corrosive, irritant, sensitising, toxic, highly toxic or carcinogenic. According to the type of hazard, the Gefahrstoffverordnung classifies these substances into different protection levels which involve specific safety requirements.
Conducting a risk assessment is a central component in determining the correct protection level. The risk assessment includes information on the toxic properties of the substance, information from the manufacturer, details on the level of exposure, physico-chemical effects as well as the possibility of substitution with less dangerous substances. We provide a number of official forms to facilitate the conduct of such an assessment. The Gefahrstoffverordnung also stipulates the maintenance of an up-to-date hazardous substances register that documents the substance information, the corresponding safety data sheet, labelling regulations, the quantity of the substance and the corresponding location.
In some cases, hazardous substances must be kept in safety cabinets.