The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently published Hexavalent Chromium, a booklet outlining industry requirements for hexavalent chromium standards. Workers exposed to this toxic chemical can develop lung cancer and damage to the nose, throat and respiratory system.
Inhaling the chemical’s fumes can cause allergic reactions or asthmatic symptoms, such as wheezing and shortness of breath. Hexavalent chromium is used in pigments, metal finishing, wood preservatives and fungicides. Workers may also be exposed to hexavalent chromium fumes generated during welding of chromium metal alloys.
“Hexavalent chromium is a powerful lung carcinogen and exposure to this chemical must be minimized,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA David Michaels. “OSHA provides guidance on its standards to ensure that employers and workers know the best ways to prevent workplace injuries and illnesses.”
The booklet explains OSHA’s hexavalent chromium standards in a reader-friendly format and is a companion document to the Small Entity Compliance Guide for the Hexavalent Chromium Standards published in 2006. Requirements for exposure limits, exposure monitoring and determination, protective work clothing and equipment, medical surveillance, communication of hexavalent chromium hazards and recordkeeping are described.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace for their employees. OSHA’s role is to assure safe and healthful working conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.