Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for Hexavalent Chromium
On the afternoon of Friday, October 1, OSHA announced that it would publish its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) for occupational exposure to Hexavalent Chromium on Monday, October 4. The agency is proposing three separate standards that cover exposure to hexavalent chromium in general industry, construction and shipyards. The agency is accepting public comments until January 3, 2005.
THE GOOD NEWS IS THAT THE SCOPE OF THE PROPOSED RULE EXCLUDES EXPOSURES TO PORTLAND CEMENT!
THE BAD NEWS IS THAT IT ESTABLISHES A FEW PRECEDENTS THAT WE, AS AN INDUSTRY, MUST BE CONCERNED ABOUT!
OSHA is proposing to lower its permissible exposure limit (PEL) for HexChrome (CrVI) from 52 to one microgram of CrVI per cubic meter of air as an 8-hour time weighted average. The proposed rule also includes provisions for employee protection such as preferred methods for controlling exposure, respiratory protection, protective work clothing and equipment, hygiene areas and practices, medical surveillance, hazard communication and recordkeeping.
Regulated areas must be established where airborne concentrations are expected to exceed the PEL and medical surveillance is required for those who are exposed above the PEL more than 30 days per year.
This is an issue that we must continue to be concerned about because there is little doubt that the Laborers will fight the exclusion of Portland cement. The affected parties must, therefore, focus our efforts on offering coordinated testimony, etc. at the public hearings to justify the Portland cement exclusion. I will be working to do just that very soon.
If you have any questions about this, please let me know. I will review the NPRM on Monday and provide further information should it be required.
About the Author
Marian J. Marshall was the Director of Government Affairs for the Mason Contractors Association of America.