About the Occupational Exposure Limit database

The government and industry use Occupational Exposure Limits (OELs) to evaluate the risks of substances in the workplace. The OELs create clarity for employers and employees regarding what is permissible exposure. OELs also provide guidance to the labour inspectorate in the case of enforcement.

For all substances, companies must evaluate within the framework of the Risk Inventory and Evaluation (RIE) to what extent they comply with the statutory OELs or, in the absence of a statutory OEL, the OEL set by the employer (company or private OEL). For this purpose, you can use the database, where you can look up the public or private OEL of a substance.

For each substance, a number of details are given to identify it: ISO name*, CAS number* and EU registration number. The English name of the substance and usual synonyms of the substance are also in the database.


This database also contains information on the classification of substances as carcinogenic (C, carcinogenic), mutagenic (M, affects DNA), toxic to reproduction (R), and sensitising (S, can cause allergies). Classification of a substance as CMR or S can be a preliminary stage in a process to establish a statutory OEL. The classification as CMR comes from the list of carcinogenic substances and processes drawn up by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment. The classification as S comes from Annex XIV of the CLP Regulation (EC) 1272/2008.

Occupational Exposure Limits until 2007

The database also lists the OELs that were applied as statutory or administrative OELs until 1 January 2007. When the new system was introduced on 1 January 2007, these limits came under the private system. The limits can form the basis for establishing a company OEL. More about the old system (only in Dutch).

Occupational Exposure Limits in other countries

Finally, in the database you can find the OELs that are used in various EU countries and a number of other countries.

* ISO name = standard name of the substance
* CAS number = identification number for chemical and biological substances

Read more about the abbreviations used in the database

Search for an Occupational Exposure Limit