Limit Values Sweden

The Swedish Work Environment Authority (SWEA, Swedish: Arbetsmiljöverket) is authorised by the Work Environment Act to issue more detailed regulations or provisions for the work environment. Regarding occupational exposure limits, SWEA issues the provisions on Occupational Exposure Limit (OEL) Values regularly, which is published at under "Hygieniska gränsvärden".

An OEL gives the maximum concentration of an airborne substance averaged over a reference period of 8 hours (Nivågränsvärde, NGV) or 15 minutes (occasionally 5 minutes; Korttidsgränsvärde, KGV). The Swedish OELs are legally binding, except for some short term limit values that are guidance values.

The Social Partners are consulted during the whole process, from prioritisation to the final consultation of proposals for new OELs. After a final consultation period, where also other important stakeholders such as the scientific community are invited to participate, SWEA adopts the provisions on OELs.

The majority of new Swedish OELs are derived from limit values set by the European Commission under the Chemical Agents Directive (98/24/EC) or by the European Parliament and the Council under the Carcinogens and Mutagens Directive (2004/37/EC). In addition to these values, limit values are set for other substances of concern at Swedish workplaces.

Consensus documents from scientific bodies such as the Nordic expert group (NEG), the Scientific Committee on Occupational Exposure Limits (SCOEL), the Dutch Expert Committee on Occupational Safety (DECOS), the German MAK Commission and The American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) provide the scientific basis for the OELs. The OELs set by SWEA are however administrative, taking also socio-economic and technical feasibility into account. Nonetheless, most OELs are health-based, although this is not explicitly stated for individual chemical agents.

June 2018