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OSHA Works With Welding Material Suppliers to Provide Training on
Hexavalent Chromium in Idaho

OSHAs Boise, Idaho Area Office teamed up with welding materials suppliers to provide two free training seminars on OSHAs new hexavalent chromium standard to approximately 75 attendees in southern Idaho in March 2007.

Rosemarie Olney, the OSHA Compliance Assistance Specialist (CAS) in the Boise Area Office, worked with the companies to plan, promote, and provide the seminars. "This was an excellent example of what can happen when OSHA works cooperatively with private industry," said Olney. "We were able to pool our resources to provide quality training to employers and employees impacted by the hexavalent chromium standard."

These seminars are just one example of OSHAs efforts to provide employers and employees with the information they need to comply with the hexavalent chromium standard. In addition to providing outreach in the field, OSHA issued a fact sheet called Health Effects of Hexavalent Chromium [PDF* - 24KB], a Small Entity Compliance Guide for the Hexavalent Chromium Standards [PDF* - 286KB], and updates to its Hexavalent Chromium Safety and Health Topics page.

The Idaho seminars focused on welding operations, which are one of the leading industry operations associated with hexavalent chromium exposure. Exposure can occur when welding or cutting operations are performed on stainless steel, other metals containing hexavalent chromium, or surfaces coated with hexavalent chromium paint.

Olney worked with Airgas Intermountain, a supplier of gases and welding supplies, to plan the first session, which was held on March 12, 2007 at Idaho State University in Pocatello. Airgas secured the location for the seminar, distributed fliers to help promote the event, and invited 3M to give a presentation.

Approximately 25 people attended this session. Most were from companies that perform stainless steel welding, including representatives from a sugar beet processing plant and a phosphorus plant.

Olney gave a presentation on the major provisions of the OSHA standard, including who is covered, the permissible exposure level, exposure determination, regulated areas, methods of compliance, and respiratory protection. She also reviewed the affected industries and the major health effects of hexavalent chromium exposure. She provided each attendee with a copy of her presentation and the OSHA Small Entity Compliance Guide for the Hexavalent Chromium Standards [PDF* - 286KB].

Representatives from 3M then discussed respiratory protection options for reducing hexavalent chromium exposure and use of other personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gloves and cover-alls. "3M was truly pleased to be able to co-sponsor these hexavalent chromium training seminars," said Doug Beecroft, an Industrial Safety Specialist with 3Ms Occupational Health and Environmental Safety Division. "We feel this training is vital to the continued health and well being of all employees that are exposed to hexavalent chromium and other contaminants, and to be able to present this information together with dynamic OSHA representatives such as Ms. Olney helped make the training even more effective."

Olney worked with Norco, a welding equipment supplier, to plan the second seminar, which was held at the College of Southern Idaho in Twin Falls on March 16, 2007. Norco promoted the seminar by distributing flyers and speaking to its customers about the event.

As in the first seminar, Olney gave a presentation about the OSHA standard and 3M representatives reviewed respiratory protection and PPE issues. In addition, representatives from Lincoln Electric, another welding equipment supplier, discussed different welding processes and how much fumes are generated by each process. They also reviewed welding methods that produce fewer fumes that could be substituted for high fume-producing methods.

Approximately 50 people attended this seminar. Most were from companies that perform welding operations. In addition, several instructors from welding programs in area high schools with vocational/technical programs attended the seminar.

For more information, please contact Rosemarie Olney, OSHAs Compliance Assistance Specialist in the Boise Area Office.



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