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New OSHA Hexavalent Chromium Requirement


The Hexavalent Chromium Standard is currently in effect, however employers have until May 31, 2010 to complete engineering controls, as necessary. All employers whose employees have potential exposures to hexavalent chromium should conduct sampling to determine what the exposures are. The Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) for hexavalent chromium is 5 micrograms per cubic meter of air (5µg/m3). The "Action Level" is 2.5µg/m3. Specific requirements are mandatory if exposure meets or exceeds this level.

New requirements:
OSHA has amended the Hexavalent Chromium [Cr(VI)] standard. As originally written, the Cr(VI) standard required employers to notify employees of any exposures in excess of the applicable permissible exposure limit (PEL).

OSHA is revising the employee notification requirements under the Hexavalent Chromium [Cr(VI)] regulation requiring employers to notify employees of the results of all exposure determinations, not just those that exceed PEL. The action comes in the form of a Direct Final Rule, which will be effective June 15, 2010.

Also, OSHA recently released CPL 02-02-076, the compliance directive for implementing a National Emphasis Program (NEP) to identify and reduce or eliminate occupational exposure to hexavalent chromium.

Under the NEP:
  • Each region is required to conduct at least five inspections each year. Inspections will generally focus on industries where overexposures to hexavalent chromium are known to occur, for example, electroplating and foundries.
  • Data from the EPA can be used to identify facilities where hexavalent chromium overexposures are unlikely.
  • Employers participating in cooperative programs may be exempt from programmed inspections.
  • Inspections under this NEP are to be conducted by an Industrial Hygiene Compliance Officer (IH or Health CSHO) who has received training.
  • Area Offices are required to conduct follow-up inspections in certain cases, including where overexposures to hexavalent chromium or the other toxic substances targeted by this NEP are cited.

Related OSHA documents

OSHA Instruction CPL 02-02-076: National Emphasis Program – Hexavalent Chromium
OSHA Instruction CPL 02-00-148: Field Operations Manual (FOM)
OSHA Instruction CPL 02-02-074 - Inspection Procedures for the Chromium (VI) Standards

Related EVISA Resources

Link database: Toxicity of hexavalent chromium
Link Database: Occupational exposure of hexavalent chromium
Link Database: Legislation for hexavalent chromium at the workplace

Related EVISA News

February 17, 2010: Hexavalent Chromium: OSHA deadline for engineering controls approaching
May 28, 2009: Hexavalent chromium rule added to revised OSHA Shipyard Industry Document
February 6, 2008: OSHA Issues Enforcement Procedures Directive for Hex Chrome Standards
April 12, 2007: OSHA Agrees to Monitor Worker Exposure to Hexavalent Chromium-Containing Cement
October 4, 2006: OSHA Issues Hexavalent Chromium Guidance for Small Businesses
February 28, 2006: OSHA Issues Final Standard on Hexavalent Chromium

last time modified: July 1, 2020


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