Discovering Specific Conditions for Compliance with Soft Regulation Related to Work with Nanomaterials

Aline Reichow, Barbel R. Dorbeck-Jung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


At workplaces where nanomaterials are produced or used, risk assessment and risk management are extremely difficult tasks since there is still limited evidence about the risks of nanomaterials. Measurement methods for nanoparticles are contested and safety standards have not yet been developed properly. To support compliance with the legal obligation of the employer to care for safe workplaces a large number of ‘soft’ regulatory tools have been proposed (e.g. codes of conduct, benchmarks, standards). However, it is not clear whether and under which conditions soft regulation is complied with. This article discusses the potential advantages and drawbacks of soft regulation. It explores compliance issues when exposure measurement devices and other technology-related factors are involved. The exploration of three examples of soft regulation on occupational health and safety (a ministerial recommendation on preliminary exposure benchmarks, a nano-specific guidance of a chemical company and a public–private OHS guideline) shows that the capacity of the regulated parties to comply depends on the availability of appropriate technological devices and methods, technical expertise and other resources. When technological prerequisites are met, compliance is likely to increase
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-92
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2013


  • METIS-295044
  • IR-84600


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