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Bij het werken met gevaarlijke chemicaliën en farmaceutische stoffen is de bescherming van werknemers van cruciaal belang. Het beoordelen en categoriseren van chemicaliën op basis van hun potentie en de bijbehorende gezondheidseffecten is essentieel om de veiligheid op de werkplek te waarborgen. Een van de methoden die hiervoor wordt gebruikt, is de Hierarchy van Occupational Exposure Limits (OELs), waarbij occupational exposure banding (OEB) een belangrijke rol speelt.

Wat is Occupational Exposure Banding (OEB)?

Occupational exposure banding, ook wel bekend als hazard banding, is een proces dat chemicaliën in specifieke categorieën (bands) indeelt op basis van hun potentie en de bijbehorende gezondheidseffecten. Deze bands worden gebruikt om de blootstelling van werknemers aan gevaarlijke stoffen te reguleren en te beperken. Het doel van OEB is om werknemers te beschermen en om richtlijnen te bieden voor veilig werken met deze stoffen.

Het belang van Occupational Exposure Limits (OELs)

Occupational Exposure Limits (OELs) spelen een cruciale rol bij het beschermen van werknemers tegen schadelijke blootstelling aan gevaarlijke stoffen. OELs zijn wettelijk vastgestelde grenswaarden voor de maximale blootstelling aan chemicaliën op de werkplek. Deze grenswaarden zijn gebaseerd op wetenschappelijk onderzoek naar de toxiciteit en gezondheidseffecten van de stoffen. Het naleven van de OELs is essentieel om de gezondheid en veiligheid van werknemers te waarborgen.

The link between OEB and OEL

OEB and OEL are closely linked. OEB is used as a classification system to classify chemicals into categories based on their potency and health effects. This classification is then used to establish the OELs, which indicate the maximum exposure levels to which workers can be exposed without adverse effects. OEBs are considered a starting point for determining the OELs, but the OELs are ultimately established on the basis of extensive research and scientific data.

De piramide van Occupational Exposure Limits

The pyramid of Occupational Exposure Limits is a hierarchical system that includes various limits and classifications to regulate exposure to hazardous substances in the workplace. This system ensures that workers are protected from harmful chemical exposure and that appropriate safety measures are taken.

The system is made up of different levels, with each level having specific limit values and guidelines. The highest level is OEB 1, which indicates that the substances are not harmful and do not cause significant health effects. As we move up the hierarchy, the substances become potentially more harmful and dangerous to workers' health. OEB 5 is the highest level and indicates that the substances are highly potent and can cause serious health effects if exposed.

The classification of OEBs

OEBs are classified based on several criteria, including toxicity, carcinogenicity, mutagenicity, and reproductive toxicity. Each criterion has a specific impact on the classification of the substances and determines the degree of protective measures to be taken. The following is an overview of the different OEB categories:

  1. OEB 1: This category includes substances that are not harmful and do not cause significant health effects.
  2. OEB 2: Substances in this category may be harmful, but exposure can be limited by appropriate ventilation systems and safety measures.
  3. OEB 3: This category includes potentially harmful substances that require additional safety measures, such as the use of insulators and protective clothing.
  4. OEB 4: Substances in this category are hazardous and require strict safety measures, such as the use of fume hoods and closed systems.
  5. OEB 5: This is the highest category and includes highly hazardous substances that require extreme precautions, such as the use of insulators and strict control of exposure.

The Importance of Exposure Control

Controlling exposure to hazardous substances is vital to ensure the health and safety of workers. The use of appropriate containment systems and safety measures, such as insulators and ventilation systems, can minimize exposure to potentially harmful substances. In addition, regularly checking and monitoring exposure levels is crucial to ensure that workers do not experience any adverse health effects.

OEB and the pharmaceutical industry

In the pharmaceutical industry, OEBs play an essential role in ensuring the safety of workers working with potentially hazardous pharmaceuticals. The industry has strict guidelines and regulations in place to ensure that exposure to these substances is limited and that workers are protected from harmful effects. The use of OEBs and OELs allows the industry to implement safety measures and ensure the health and safety of workers.


The Hierarchy of Occupational Exposure Limits and occupational exposure banding play a crucial role in ensuring the safety of workers working with hazardous substances. Classifying chemicals based on their potency and health effects allows companies to take appropriate safety precautions and limit exposure to harmful substances. Adherence to OELs and implementing appropriate containment systems are essential aspects of a safe working environment in the pharmaceutical industry. By following these measures, companies can ensure the health and safety of employees and comply with applicable regulations.


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Disclaimer: This article is intended for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional advice. Always consult the relevant laws and regulations and contact a workplace safety and health expert.

  1. Affygility Solutions. (2017). Potent Compound Corner: What is an occupational exposure limit and why are they important?. Retrieved from:
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2019). NIOSH Occupational Exposure Banding e-Tool. Retrieved from:
  3. Ripple, S. (n.d.). Health Hazard Banding: Occupational Exposure Banding [PowerPoint Presentation]. Tera. Retrieved from: