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NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.
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OSHA Trade Release
Oct. 1, 2004
Contact: Bill Wright
Phone: (202) 693-1999


OSHA Proposes Revised Rule on Hexavalent Chromium

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration will publish a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) for occupational exposure to Hexavalent Chromium in the Oct. 4, 2004 Federal Register. OSHA is proposing three separate standards that cover exposure to hexavalent chromium (CrVI) in general industry, construction, and shipyards. The Agency is accepting public comments on the proposed standards until Jan. 3, 2005.

"The risks involved in the occupational use of hexavalent chromium can be serious and potentially life threatening," said OSHA Administrator John Henshaw. "This proposed rule is both economically and technologically feasible, and will substantially reduce the risk to workers potentially exposed to hexavalent chromium."

OSHA is proposing to lower its permissible exposure limit (PEL) for hexavalent chromium and for all CrVI compounds in construction, shipyards, and general industry from 52 to one microgram of CrVI per cubic meter of air as an 8-hour time weighted average. The proposed rule also includes provisions for employee protection such as preferred methods for controlling exposure, respiratory protection, protective work clothing and equipment, hygiene areas and practices, medical surveillance, hazard communication, and recordkeeping.

Hexavalent chromium (CrVI) compounds are widely used in the chemical industry in pigments, metal plating, and chemical synthesis as ingredients and catalysts. CrVI can also be produced when welding on stainless steel or CrVI-painted surfaces. The major health effects associated with exposure to CrVI include lung cancer, asthma, nasal septum ulcerations and perforations, skin ulcerations (or chrome holes), and allergic and irritant contact dermatitis.

Comments, whether submitted by mail, fax, or electronically, must be sent by Jan. 3, 2005. Three copies of written comments must be sent to the Docket Office, Docket H054A, Room N-2625, OSHA, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Ave., NW, Washington, D.C., 20210. Comments of 10 pages or fewer can be faxed to the OSHA Docket Office at (202) 693-1648. Comments can be submitted electronically at http://ecomments.osha.gov. Further information on submitting comments can be obtained by calling the Docket Office at (202) 693-2350.

OSHA plans to hold an informal public hearing in Washington, D.C., beginning on February 1, 2005. The meeting is expected to be held from 9:30-5:30 p.m. on each day. Interested persons who intend to present testimony at the hearing must notify OSHA of their intention to do so no later than Dec. 3, 2004. Individuals who request more than 10 minutes to present their testimony, or who will submit documentary evidence at the hearing, must provide the Agency with full testimony and all documentary evidence by Jan. 3, 2005.

Major provisions of the general industry, construction and maritime standards are outlined in the accompanying Fact Sheet.

OSHA's role is to assure the safety and health of America's workers by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach, and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual improvement in workplace safety and health. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.


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FACT SHEET

MAJOR PROVISIONS OF THE PROPOSED STANDARDS FOROCCUPATIONAL EXPOSURE
TO HEXAVALENT CHROMIUM

Scope All exposures to all Cr(VI) compounds except application as a pesticide (e.g., treated wood);

All exposures to all Cr(VI)compounds;

All exposures to all Cr(VI) compounds except exposure to Portland cement
General Industry

Shipyards

Construction
Permissible exposure limit 1.0 µg Cr(VI)/m3 air (8-hr TWA) General Industry, Shipyards and Construction
Action level 0.5 µg/m3 General Industry Only
Exposure Monitoring
  • Initial
  • Every 3 mos. if > PEL
  • Every 6 mos. if > AL
  • Discontinue if < AL
General Industry Only
Regulated Areas Establish regulated areas where airborne concentrations are or are expected to be > PEL General Industry Only
Methods of Compliance If an employee is exposed above the PEL > 30 days/year (12 consecutive months), then engineering and work practice controls are required to achieve the PEL. General Industry, Shipyards and Construction
Respiratory Protection Provide respirators in accordance with 1910.134 in most circumstances where employees are exposed above the PEL General Industry, Shipyards and Construction
Protective Work Clothing and Equipment When a hazard is or is likely to be present from skin or eye contact with Cr(VI) provide, clean, and maintain PPE at no cost to employee General Industry, Shipyards and Construction
Hygiene Areas and Practices Change rooms when PPE is required and washing facilities for employees with eye or skin contact with Cr(VI) ;

Prohibition of certain activities (e.g., smoking, eating) in regulated areas
General Industry, Shipyards and Construction

General Industry Only
Housekeeping Keep surfaces free as practicable of accumulation of Cr(VI) & clean spills and releases of Cr(VI) materials promptly General Industry Only
Medical Surveillance Medical assessment for employees who:

Are exposed  above the PEL >30 days/year (initially and annually);

Experience signs or symptoms associated with Cr(VI) exposure;

Are exposed in an emergency
General Industry only

General Industry, Shipyards and Construction

General Industry, Shipyards and Construction
Communication of hazards to employees Warning signs in regulated areas;

Warning labels on containers with Cr(VI) contaminated wastes and clothing/ equipment;

Employee training
General Industry only

General Industry, Shipyards and Construction

General Industry, Shipyards and Construction
Recordkeeping Exposure records;

Medical records;

Training records
General Industry only

General Industry, Shipyards and construction

General Industry, Shipyards and Construction



This news release text is on the Internet at http://www.osha.gov. Information on this release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: (202) 693-1999.


Archive Notice - OSHA Archive

NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.

OSHA News Release - (Archived) Table of Contents

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