A Kansas aircraft manufacturer exposed its employees to hexavalent chromium, a known carcinogen, and failed to monitor exposure levels, according to OSHA, which has assessed citations and fines against Spirit Aerosystems Inc.

According to OSHA inspectors, the Wichita-based company failed to:

  • implement feasible engineering controls to limit employee exposure to hexavalent chromium, a known carcinogen
  • conduct periodic monitoring of employee exposure, and
  • establish protocols to ensure that employees remove contaminated personal protective equipment and clothing before leaving the work area.

OSHA also alleges the company failed to prevent exposure to hexavalent chromium during aircraft painting and allowed the accumulation of hexavalent chromium on surfaces and failed to ensure that employee respirators fit properly.

Spirit Aerosystems Inc. faces penalties of $193,218 for two repeated and four serious violations.

"Inhaling excessive levels of hexavalent chromium can cause asthma, and damage to the kidneys, liver, and respiratory system," said OSHA Wichita Acting Area Office Director Ryan Hodge. "It is important for employers to take the appropriate steps necessary to prevent excessive exposure."