On October 2nd the U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) issued safety and health guidance to help small businesses comply with the agency's new hexavalent chromium (Cr[VI]) requirements for general industry, construction and shipyards.
The guide describes the steps that employers are required to take
to protect employees from hazards associated with exposure to Cr(VI).
It is divided into sections that address the major provisions of the
standards, and follows the same organization as the corresponding
paragraph of the standards.
To help employers better understand the requirements, the guide
provides more detail than the standards, according to OSHA.
Among the major topics covered in the guide are:
- Permissible exposure limits (PEL);
- Exposure determination;
- Regulated areas;
- Methods of compliance;
- Respiratory protection;
- Protective work clothing and equipment,
- Hygiene areas and practices,
- Housekeeping; and
- Medical surveillance.
Hexavalent chromium compounds are widely used in the chemical
industry as ingredients and catalysts in pigments, metal plating and
chemical synthesis. Cr(VI) also can be produced when welding on
stainless steel or Cr(VI)-painted surfaces.
The major health effects associated with exposure to Cr(VI)
include lung cancer, nasal septum ulcerations and perforations, skin
ulcerations and allergic and irritant contact dermatitis.
"This new resource is aimed at helping small businesses comply
with the new standards, while helping them reduce the risk to
employees potentially exposed to these compounds," OSHA Administrator
Edwin Foulke Jr. said.
The guide is available in the PDF-format on OSHA's
EVISA News, February 28, 2006: OSHA Issues Final Standard on Hexavalent Chromium
EVISA News, April 12, 2007: OSHA Agrees to Monitor Worker Exposure to Hexavalent Chromium-Containing Cement
last time modified: April 12, 2007