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May 21, 2010
U.S. Department of Labor
Occupational Safety and Health Administration
Office of Communications
Washington, D.C.
www.osha.gov
Contact: Office of Communications
Phone: 202-693-1999

Requirement for protecting workers from
hexavalent chromium exposure now a final rule

WASHINGTON - OSHA is confirming the effective date of June 15, 2010 for the direct final rule requiring employers to notify their workers of all hexavalent chromium exposures. The rule revises a provision in OSHA's Hexavalent Chromium standard that required workers be notified only when they experienced exposures exceeding the permissible exposure limit. Workers exposed to this toxic chemical are at greater risk for lung cancer and damage to the nose, throat and respiratory tract.

Occupational exposures to hexavalent chromium can occur among workers handling pigments, spray paints and coatings containing chromates, operating chrome plating baths, and welding or cutting metals containing chromium, such as stainless steel. Workers breathing hexavalent chromium compounds in high concentrations over extended periods of time may risk developing lung cancer, irritation or damage to the eyes and skin.

OSHA requested public comments on the revised requirement in a March 17, 2010, Direct Final Rule and accompanying Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. This was done in response to a Third Circuit Court's decision that the agency failed to explain why it departed from the proposed rule that would require notifying workers of all hexavalent chromium exposures. The Agency received no significant adverse comments, therefore it is proceeding with the Direct Final Rule and withdrawing the accompanying Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.

Visit OSHA's Safety and Health Topics page on Hexavalent Chromium for more information on protecting workers from exposure to this chemical.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to assure these 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.

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U.S. Department of Labor releases are accessible on the Internet at http://www.dol.gov. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc) from the COAST office upon request. Please specify which news release when placing your request at 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755. The Labor Department 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 http://www.dol.gov/compliance.


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