OSHA Settles Challenge to Hex Chrome Standard

As part of a settlement agreement, OSHA published an amendment in the Oct. 31 Federal Register to the compliance date provision of its hexavalent chromium standard. The amendment creates an optional, alternative compliance timetable for metal- and surface-finishing operations at appropriate facilities.

As part of a settlement agreement, OSHA published an amendment in the Oct. 31 Federal Register to the compliance date provision of its hexavalent chromium standard. The amendment creates an optional, alternative compliance timetable for metal- and surface-finishing operations at appropriate facilities.

The amendment is part of a settlement agreement with the Surface Finishing Industry Council (SFIC), Public Citizen Health Research Group and the United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial and Service Workers International Union, and it resolves a legal challenge by the SFIC to OSHA's hexavalent chromium standard.

Facilities that become parties to the agreement must implement engineering controls for electroplating operations by Dec. 31, 2008, but will have relief from certain respirator requirements in the mean time, according to OSHA.

The amendment has no impact on the compliance requirement for facilities that are not eligible to or do not become parties to the agreement.

A facility is eligible to become a party to the agreement if the employer is a member of SFIC or if the facility is a surface-finishing or metal-finishing job shop that sells plating or anodizing services to other companies. The facility also should be within the jurisdiction of federal OSHA, the agency said.

Employers can make their eligible facilities parties to the agreement by sending OSHA a completed declaration of party status. Declarations, OSHA's settlement with SFIC and the Federal Register notice are available on OSHA's Web site. A separate declaration must be completed for each facility and must be received by OSHA or postmarked on or before Nov. 30.

Petitions for review of the hexavalent chromium standard filed by other petitioners remain pending in the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.


- Katherine Torres

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