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OSHA Issues Enforcement Procedures Directive for Hex Chrome Standards


Hexavalent chromium compounds are regularly used in the chemical industry in pigments, metal plating and chemical synthesis. They also occur as a side product in cement, leather  and in welding fumes. Significant health effects associated with exposure to Cr(VI) are lung cancer, nasal septum ulcerations and perforations, skin ulcerations, and allergic and irritant contact dermatitis.

The OSHA standards lower the permissible exposure limit for hexavalent chromium to 5 micrograms of Cr(VI) per cubic meter of air as an 8-hour time-weighted average.

The Cr(VI) standards, which were originally published in the Feb. 28, 2006, Federal Register, are applicable to general industry, construction, and shipyards (Sections 29 CFR 1910.1026, 29 CFR 1926.1126 and 29 CFR 1915.1026, respectively). These standards became effective on May 30, 2006. Employers with 20 or more employees were given six months from the effective date to comply with most of the provisions. Employers with less than 20 employees were allowed 12 months from the effective date to come into compliance with most of the provisions. All employers were given four years from the effective date to install feasible engineering controls.

The new Compliance directive:
"This new directive provides guidance for enforcement of the final rule on hexavalent chromium standards," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Edwin G. Foulke, Jr. "OSHA anticipates these efforts will reduce the risks of exposure to Cr(VI), thereby improving the safety and health of employees affected by this hazard."

Highlights of the new Cr(VI) directive include:

  • procedures for reviewing an employer's air sampling records to determine exposure levels;
  • guidance on how employers can implement effective engineering and work practice controls to reduce and maintain exposure below approved permissible exposure limits;
  • requirements for employers to provide hygiene areas to minimize employees' exposure to Cr(VI);
  • guidelines requiring employers to maintain exposure and medical surveillance records;
  • and a requirement that CSHOs evaluate portland cement wherever it is being used.

Related Documents

OSHA Instruction CPL 02-02-074

Related News

EVISA News, May 17, 2007: Hexavalent Chromium in Drinking Water Causes Cancer in Lab Animals
EVISA News, April 12, 2007: OSHA Agrees to Monitor Worker Exposure to Hexavalent Chromium-Containing Cement
OSHA, April 11, 2007: Building Trades Department Settles Lawsuit Over Hexa-Chromium
 EVISA News, October 4, 2006: OSHA Issues Hexavalent Chromium Guidance for Small Businesses
NBNnews, March 6, 2006: Portland Cement Excluded From New OSHA Standard
EVISA News, February 28, 2006: OSHA Issues Final Standard on Hexavalent Chromium
PublicCitizen,  October 4, 2004: OSHA’s Proposed Rules for Hexavalent Chromium Exposure Don’t Go Far Enough
The Fabricator: November 9, 2004: OSHA Proposes Revised Rule on Hexavalent Chromium

last time modified: June 25, 2020


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