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Airborne contaminants

A Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBU) must ensure that workers are not exposed to airborne contaminants above the workplace exposure standard for a particular chemical or substance in the workers' breathing zone that could cause adverse health effects or undue discomfort to the majority of workers. Exposure standards are legal concentration limits that must be adhered to.

Safe Work Australia's Workplace Exposure Standards for Airborne Contaminants lists exposure standards and contains key information about how they are applied and interpreted under work health and safety laws. Further guidance on exposure standards interpretation is available in the Guidance on the Interpretation of Workplace Exposure Standards for Airborne Contaminants.

Workplace exposure standards are also available within the Hazardous Substances Information System (HSIS) database which contains additional information and guidance for individual chemicals.


Monitoring of workplace contaminant levels for chemicals with exposure standards may need to be carried out if:

  • there is an uncertainty whether or not the exposure standard has been or may be exceeded, or
  • it is necessary to determine whether there is a risk to health.

Records of air monitoring for airborne contaminants must be kept for a minimum of 30 years, and must be available to workers who are exposed.


Hazardous Chemicals
Link to Safe Work Australia

Related Information

Health monitoring