October 30, 2006
Contact: Sharon Worthy
Phone: (202) 693-4676
WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is publishing a minor amendment in today's Federal Register to the compliance date provision of its hexavalent chromium standard for general industry. The amendment is part of a settlement agreement with the Surface Finishing Industry Council (SFIC), Public Citizen Health Research Group, and the United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial and Service Workers International Union. The agreement resolves a legal challenge by the SFIC to OSHA's hexavalent chromium standard.
The agreement creates an optional, alternative compliance timetable for metal- and surface-finishing operations at eligible facilities. Facilities that become parties to the agreement must implement engineering controls for electroplating operations on an expedited schedule (by Dec. 31, 2008), but will have relief from certain respirator requirements in the interim. The amendment has no impact on the compliance requirement for facilities that are not eligible to or do not become parties to the agreement.
A facility is eligible to become a party to the agreement if: (1) the employer is a member of SFIC or the facility is a surface-finishing or metal-finishing job shop that sells plating or anodizing services to other companies; and (2) the facility is within the jurisdiction of federal OSHA.
Employers can make their eligible facilities parties to the agreement by sending OSHA a completed declaration of party status. Declarations, OSHA's settlement with SFIC and the Federal Register notice are available on OSHA's Web site at: www.osha.gov/SLTC/hexavalentchromium/hexchrom_settlement.html. A separate declaration must be completed for each facility and must be received by OSHA or postmarked on or before Nov. 30, 2006.
Petitions for review of the hexavalent chromium standard filed by other petitioners remain pending in the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.
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 the safety and health of America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach, and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual process improvement in workplace safety and health. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.
U.S. Labor Department releases are accessible on the Internet at www.dol.gov. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format upon request (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc) from the COAST office. Please specify which news release when placing your request. Call (202) 693-7765 or TTY (202) 693-7755. DOL is committed to providing America's employers and employees with easy access to understandable information on how to comply with its laws and regulations. For more information, please visit www.dol.gov/compliance.