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OSHA Chromium VI Update

Monday, July 6, 2009
OSHA Chromium VI Update Chromium (VI)

OSHA Standard Update – Chromium (VI)OSHA recently passed a new comprehensive standard for employee exposure to hexavalent chromium, also known as chromium (VI), 29 CFR 1926.1026. Industries that use chromium-plated products, chromium-based paints or stainless steel must not only reduce employee exposure but must also address other requirements under the standard.

Some operations that may expose workers to chromium (VI) include chromium electroplating, steelmaking, spraying chromium-based paint or lead-chrome primer, and welding stainless steel.

Some important aspects of the new standard include the following:

Lower PEL: The new permissible exposure limit is 5.0 micrograms of chromium per cubic meter of air (µg/m3), based on an 8-hour, time-weighted average exposure.

Action Level: An action level of 2.5 µg/m3 has been established.

Employee Exposure Monitoring: If there is a chance that employees may be exposed to lead in concentrations of one tenth of the PEL, exposure monitoring must be done to reliably document actual employee exposures.

Engineering Controls: Feasible engineering controls must be implemented to reduce employee exposures to less than the PEL, or as low as possible if the PEL cannot be achieved. Engineering controls will be required if employees are exposed to more than the PEL for 30 days or more per year.

Hygiene Facilities: Changing rooms and washing facilities must be provided if employees have skin contact with chromium (VI).

PPE: Protective work clothing, gloves and eye protection must be provided if there is potential for skin or eye contact.
Respiratory protection must be provided to employees if engineering controls do not lower exposure levels to less than the PEL.

Medical Monitoring: If employees are exposed over the action level for 30 or more days per year, they must be included in a medical surveillance program provided by a physician or other licensed health care professional.

Hazard Communication: Employees must be informed of the hazards associated with exposure to chromium (VI).

Compliance Dates: Employers with 20 or more employees must be in compliance with all aspects of the standard except engineering controls by November 27, 2006. Employers with 19 or fewer employees must comply with all aspects of the standard except engineering controls by May 30, 2007. All employers must implement engineering controls by May 31, 2010.

For additional information please contact Dan Bruun, CIH, Vice President, at 610.524.5525, ext. 17, or email.