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Requirement for protecting workers from hexavalent chromium exposure now a final rule (5/24)

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.

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