The paper includes a discussion of the reasoning behind current dose limits followed by a discussion of the detriment used by ICRP as a measure for stochastic health effects. Studies on radiation-induced cancer are reviewed because this endpoint represents the most important contribution to detriment. Recent findings on radiation-induced circulatory disease that are currently not included in detriment calculation are also reviewed. It appeared that for detriment calculations the contribution of circulatory diseases plays only a secondary role, although the uncertainties involved in their risk estimates are considerable. These discussions are complemented by a review of the procedures currently in use in Germany, or in discussion elsewhere, to define limits for genotoxic carcinogens. To put these concepts in perspective, actual occupational radiation exposures are exemplified with data from Germany, for the year 2012, and regulations in Germany are compared to the recommendations issued by ICRP. Conclusions include, among others, considerations on radiation protection concepts currently in use and recommendations of the SSK on the limitation of annual effective dose and effective dose cumulated over a whole working life.