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Hazardous substances are dangerous for humans and their environment. They may be explosive, poisonous or carcinogenic. If you own a company in the Netherlands and your employees could be exposed to hazardous substances while carrying out their work, you are required to take measures to limit or avoid that exposure to the greatest degree possible. When taking measures, you must follow the occupational hygiene strategy.
Arboportaal has developed a digital tool called the Substances Manager (Stoffenmanager). This (Dutch-language) tool describes what measures you can take in your company. Various sector-specific substance managers are available. The Inspectorate SZW (Social Affairs and Employment) has drawn up a self-assessment service for working with hazardous substances (in Dutch), with which you can assess whether you and your employees handle hazardous substances in a correct and safe manner.
Diesel engine emissions
Diesel engine emissions (exhaust gases from diesel engines) consist of gases and soot. Soot may cause cancer. To protect your employees against these emissions, you must take measures in a specific sequence: replace diesel engines, reduce emissions, isolate working area, limit amount of inhalation and provide employees with protective respiratory equipment.
Sawdust and quartz dust
Sawdust (houtstof) is the result of sawing, sanding or planing wood. Exposure to sawdust can be harmful to people’s health. Sawdust is also capable of causing dust explosions. You must ensure that the exposure to sawdust remains below certain limits set by law.
Quartz dust (kwartsstof) is released when processing materials that contain quartz. For example, drilling or milling in a concrete ceiling or brick wall releases quartz dust into the air. The legally set limit for quartz dust is 0,075 mg/m3 during a 8 hour working day.
You are obliged to evaluate exposure to sawdust and quartz dust in your risk inventory and evaluation (RI&E).