oshaWorkers at an auto parts manufacturer were exposed to hexavalent chromium beyond authorized limits, according to OSHA, which cited Tenneco Automotive Operating Co. for 20 safety and health violations at its Hartwell, GA facility. Proposed fines total $90,000.

Hexavalent chromium exposure can lead to nose, throat and lung damage. The citations related to hexavalent chromium include failing to prevent exposure beyond OSHA's authorized limits, not developing a plan to limit exposure, not providing a separate storage area or change area for personal protective equipment used by workers, failing to consult a physician about the chromium exposures, not maintaining an eyewash station, failing to provide clean work surfaces free from chromium accumulations and failing to dispose of waste using a sealed container. The remaining serious violations include failing to evaluate and prevent workers entering confined spaces from doing so without required permits, train workers on lockout/tagout procedures, implement a lockout/tagout program for energy sources to prevent machines from accidentally starting up during servicing and maintenance, provide guards on machines and provide a cover to an electrical panel.

Three other-than-serious violations involved mounting an outlet and switch box on a structural support column, blocking an electrical disconnect and failing to require employees to practice entering confined spaces since 2009.

Tenneco Automotive Operating Co. is a division of Tenneco, a global transportation components manufacturer with more than 80 facilities on six continents with corporate offices in Lake Forest, Ill.