02/26/2008

New Hexavalent Chromium Standards in USA

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration
(OSHA) has issued a new compliance directive for occupational exposure to
hexavalent chromium (Cr(VI)).

"This new directive provides guidance for enforcement of the final rule on
hexavalent chromium standards," stated 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."

The 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 Cr(VI) standards are applicable to general industry, construction and
shipyards. 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.

The 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.
Hexavalent chromium compounds are regularly used in the chemical industry in
pigments, metal plating and chemical synthesis. 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.

More info


AplusA-online.de - Source: U.S. Department of Labor - Occupational Safety & Health Administration