Revision of the "fibre years" report (cumulative asbestos fibre dose)
Sector: -cross sectoral-
Type of hazard: dangerous substances, work-related diseases
Catchwords: occupational disease, carcinogenic substances, exposure
Status: completed 04/2006
Financed by: Hauptverband der gewerblichen Berufsgenossenschaften (HVBG)
Research institution(s): Berufsgenossenschaftliches Institut für Arbeitsschutz - BGIA, Unfallversicherungsträger-übergreifend
Description, key words:
asbestos, asbestos exposure, exposure, fibres, dose, asbestos fibre dose, fibre years, occupational disease, occupational disease No. 4104, lung cancer, laryngeal cancer, procedural instructions, measurement method, regulations, limit values, conversion factors, asbestos products, asbestos use, asbestos textiles, asbestos cement, fireproofing, brake pads, seals, insulation
Although the use of asbestos has been illegal in Germany for over ten years, diseases caused by the substance continue to occur, since their latency period ranges from ten to up to 60 years. Studies have revealed a relationship between the inhaled asbestos fibre dose (dose in "fibre years", i.e. fibre concentration × duration of exposition) and the risk of lung cancer. Since 1992, lung cancer and now also laryngeal cancer are recognized in such cases as being caused by asbestos for compensation purposes, provided an asbestos fibre dose of at least 25 fibre years can be demonstrated. The "fibre years" report (refer also to project BIA 2045, concerning retrospective measurement of the cumulative asbestos fibre dust dose ("fibre years") in employees) serves as a comprehensive body of data for retrospective ascertainment of the occupational exposure of employees and as a practical guide to ascertainment of the "fibre years". In recent years, feedback from users of the report and from staff undergoing training at the accident insurance institutions has revealed a need for revision of the existing report.
The "fibre years" working group, which was set up by the German Federation of Institutions for Statutory Accident Insurance and Prevention (HVBG), collected the issues which were identified and the recommendations produced during practical application of the "fibre years" report. Revision of the report essentially concerns extension and restructuring of the section containing the provisions and procedure by which the number of fibre years is calculated, compilation of all relevant aspects of quality assurance in a dedicated section, and extension and detailed description of the exposure data and tasks.
The concept for ascertainment of the asbestos fibre dose for employees and the edited body of data are summarized in the "fibre years" report. Application of the report assures a transparent and uniform procedure for the calculation of fibre years. Since in the majority of cases, no concrete exposure data are available and employment situations can no longer be reconstructed, the exposure register is particularly important. The "fibre years" working group has made this guide available in the revised, 4th edition. Recommendations from the field were noted and implemented. Fundamental principles for measurement of the fibre years (basis for calculation, standard working hours, prioritization of data for use, conversion factors for the results of measurements, use of the 90% values) remain unchanged.
last update: 19.9.2006