September 30, 2010
Mike Harris, President
Hamlin & Harris Incorporated
1728 Cloverdale Ave
Baton Rouge, LA 70808
Dear Mr. Harris:
Thank you for your June 4, 2010, letter to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Your letter has been referred to Directorate of Enforcement Programs (DEP). You requested OSHA's interpretation of requirements for two provisions of the Chromium (VI) standard, 29 CFR 1910.1026. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation only of the requirements discussed and may not be applicable to any questions not delineated within your original correspondence. Your paraphrased questions and our responses are below.
Question 1: When air monitoring for hexavalent chromium is required every six months by §1910.1026(d)(2)(iii) for exposures above the action limit, or when monitoring is required quarterly by §1910.1026(d)(2)(iv) for exposures above the permissible exposure limit, and the job frequency is lower than the frequency of the required monitoring, are employers required to "stage" jobs to meet the exposure monitoring requirements?
Response: No. The employer is not required to stage jobs to meet the requirement of sampling every six months or quarterly. As soon as the job occurs after the applicable scheduled monitoring requirements of §1910.1026(d)(2), exposure monitoring must be conducted.
Question 2: In operations where hexavalent chromium may accumulate on surfaces, and the employer institutes a housekeeping program in accordance with §1910.1026(j), including HEPA vacuuming or wet wiping, is the employer required to perform wipe sampling to prove surfaces are free from accumulation? If so, does OSHA have guidance on the acceptable level for surface concentration of hexavalent chromium?
Response: Your letter stated that you already reviewed OSHA's discussion of this provision in CPL 02-02-074, Inspection Procedures for the Chromium (VI) Standards, January 24, 2008. As our directive explains, the standard does not provide a maximum allowable surface contamination of Chromium (VI) as a criteria for "as free as practicable." The employer is not required to perform wipe sampling to prove that surfaces are "as free as practicable" of accumulations of hexavalent chromium under §1910.1026(j). If, however, during an OSHA inspection a Compliance Officer observes visible accumulation on a surface indicating that an employer's housekeeping measures are not in compliance with §1910.1026(j), then OSHA may take a wipe sample to determine whether the accumulation contains hexavalent chromium. For further information on OSHA's Chromium VI standard, we are enclosing a copy of our booklet, Small Entity Compliance Guide for the Hexavalent Chromium Standards, OSHA 3320-10N, 2006.
Thank you for your interest in occupational safety and health. We hope you find this information helpful. OSHA requirements are set by statue, standards and regulations. Our interpretation letters explain these requirements and how they apply to particular circumstances, but they can not create additional employer obligations. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation of the requirements discussed. Note that our enforcement guidance may be affected by changes to OSHA rules. Also, from time to time we update our guidance in response to new information. To keep apprised of such developments, you can consult OSHA's website at http://www.osha.gov. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact the Office of Health Enforcement at (202) 693-2190.
Thomas Galassi, Director
Directorate of Enforcement Programs
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