Occupational exposure to exhaust emissions from diesel engines (diesel particulate, NOX, CO, CO2)

Project No. IFA 1122


completed 06/2017


Exhaust emissions from diesel engines consist of gaseous components such as nitrogen oxides and carbon monoxide, and particulate components such as elemental carbon. The situation at workplaces at which diesel-engined vehicles are used is characterized by the wide variation in emitted compounds as a function of the engine type and in particular of its mode of use (load state, maintenance condition, driving style, etc.). Technical progress has given rise to a need for an up-to-date survey of occupational exposure at workplaces at which diesel-engined vehicles are used.


Inhalative exposure to exhaust emissions from diesel engines such as diesel particulate, nitrogen oxides (NO, NO2) and carbon monoxide (CO) was determined by measurements performed between August 2014 and August 2017 within MGU measurement programme 9178. Overall responsibility for performance of the measurements lay with the German Social Accident Insurance Institution for the transport industry (BG Verkehr). Measurements were performed by means of collecting and direct-reading measurement systems, both static and worn on the person, in 66 working areas in companies. The focus lay upon the activities of goods handling, warehousing work, repairs, maintenance, test beds, airports, transport and vehicle depots. Performance of the measurements was accompanied by documentation of factors including the following: sector, working area, ventilation technology employed, climatic conditions and duration of exposure. These factors were documented in order to facilitate selection and interpretation of the measurement results.


Nine German Social Accident Insurance Institutions involved in the MGU measurement system for hazard assessment took part in the measurement programme. 98 measurements were performed in companies in which 922 samples were collected and 3024 measured values obtained. These included 294 measured values each for diesel particulate/EC (elementary carbon) and diesel particulate/TC (total carbon), 192 measured values for CO, 190 measured values for NO and 200 measured values for NO2. A further 295 measured values were obtained for the respirable fraction and 124 measured values for benzo(a)pyrene. These measured values are documented in MEGA and interpreted statistically. The interpretations are being exploited for further development of the TRGS 554 technical rules concerning diesel exhaust emissions. Publication in the journal Gefahrstoffe - Reinhaltung der Luft is also planned.

Last Update:

6 Aug 2018


Financed by:
  • Deutsche Gesetzliche Unfallversicherung e. V. (DGUV)
Research institution(s):
  • Institut für Arbeitsschutz der Deutschen Gesetzlichen Unfallversicherung (IFA)

-cross sectoral-

Type of hazard:

dangerous substances



Description, key words:

diesel exhaust emissions, diesel particulate, CO, CO2, NOx, exposure, air monitoring, MGU measurement programme