Our work

Healthy working with substances

In some professions employees have to work with hazardous substances like chemicals, asbestos and welding fumes. Employers are charged with ensuring safe working conditions for their employees to prevent occupational illnesses. At TNO we work with partners to develop innovative solutions to enable people to continue healthy working.

Wouter Fransman, Senior Scientist for Healthy Working with Hazardous Substances: “In the Netherlands occupational illnesses cause the death of around 3500 people each year, a figure that must be reduced. Prevention is the key, and is literally better than cure.”

Managing exposure to substances

We are working with partners on ways of managing exposure to hazardous substances, as in the innovation platform iTanks and with developer Translas on an extractor welding torch that removes the welding fumes during the work. We are also working on innovative methods to safely remove asbestos and developing sensors that detect asbestos. Another key development concerns sensoring in the workplace. In the future employees should be able to use a smartphone to measure contamination themselves.

Predictive models

Performing measurements in the workplace is expensive, so we have used measurements from the past to develop models that predict exposure to chemical substances. Examples include our own Stoffenmanager and Advanced Reach Tool, developed together with an international consortium. Companies can use this free of charge, which brings safe working with hazardous substances also within the reach of SMEs.

Effectiveness of control measures

Companies can also consult our online platform Stofvrijwerken (substance-free working), which examines the effectiveness of control measures. For instance, companies can see how to reduce exposure to hazardous substances and how to work safely with a specific installation. They can take stock of their current situation and make well founded decisions on safety investments.


TNO works with government and industry. One of our main strengths is multidisciplinarity. If you would like to cooperate with us, please contact us.

Prevention is the key

Contact us for opportunities

Our work

Asbestos innovations and research

When working with asbestos, the release of fibres can present a hazard to both the worker and the environment. Exposure to asbestos fibres in the clean-up of products that contain asbestos must be restricted... Read more
TNO Insights

This is how we trace harmful substances even faster

31 August 2016
TNO has developed a method for rapidly detecting exposure to benzene. This is a nice example of personalized sensing, a type of sensor system that is used to better manage environmental impacts on people.... Read more


Dr Wouter Fransman


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