OSHA Focuses on Hexavalent Chromium in Kansas, Eastern Missouri

September 28, 2010

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has started a local emphasis program in Kansas and Eastern Missouri aimed at reducing workplace health hazards associated with exposure to hexavalent chromium in general industry and construction. OSHA's goal is to reduce employee exposures to these hazards through increased awareness and enforcement activities.

Industrial uses of hexavalent chromium compounds include chromate pigments in dyes, paints, inks and plastics; chromates added as anticorrosive agents to paints, primers and other surface coatings; and chromic acid electroplated onto metal parts to provide a decorative or protective coating. Hexavalent chromium can also be formed when performing "hot work" such as welding on stainless steel or melting chromium metal.

Under the local emphasis program, OSHA will randomly select general industry establishments for inspection which have a standard industrial classification code within selected industries. Construction worksites will be selected for inspection using criteria which includes paint removal from steel structures. All inspections for this program will be within the jurisdictional boundaries of OSHA's Wichita, KS, and St. Louis, MO, area offices. Partial health inspections will be conducted with a focus on exposures to hexavalent chromium.

Employers, employees, professional associations and labor organizations may request information on the program by contacting the Wichita area office at 316-269-6644 or toll-free at 800-362-2896, or the St. Louis area office at 314-425-4249 or toll-free at 800-392-7743.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthy workplace for their employees. OSHA's role is to promote 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.