Why We Do Hexavalent Chromium Testing

Guest Blog by Bennett Ghormley, Chief Safety Officer, AltairStrickland Group

A viewpoint from a leading company that includes hexavalent chromium testing as part of its company’s safety program.

From the moment in 2006 that the Department of Labor/OSHA issued a final standard addressing occupational exposure to hexavalent chromium, our company realized that we must take prompt action because our employees work around chromium dust caused by welding, grinding and gouging on stainless steel and other alloy metals.

 The standard revealed the facts that our welders and others in the welding area could be exposed to the hazards of chromium from the metallurgy.  In addition to use of engineering controls, workplace controls, PPE, and respirator selection and use, the company safety specialists knew that education would be the key to control and elimination of hazards that could expose employees.

 By 2007, AltairStrickland had developed and implemented the hexavalent chromium policy, employee training, field action plan and employee medical evaluations.  Without them all, the program would not have been as successful.  Because the company is proactive, hundreds of employees have remained risk-free from the hazards of chromium dust.

 Environmental and laboratory specialists from ExperTox were instrumental in aiding our company in developing the program and prior to the OSHA effective date, assisted AltairStrickland in field testing of welding setups.  The creation of dispersion studies on an actual jobsite helped the company know how to plan for future welding both in confined spaces and in outside fabrication areas.  The studies conducted early-on are still helping the company today.

 

Lessons learned—No new program is without hiccups.  Even with the best of intentions, our program had some learning curves, such as:

  • Demonstrating to all employees the seriousness of the program
  • Assuring training for all employees and subcontractors
  • Ventilation planning and engineering studies
  • Conducting employee health baselines and medical surveillance

 

 Thanks to ExperTox, AltairStrickland’s safety for alloy and hexavalent chromium welding is assured.

AltairStrickland Logo   www.altairstrickland.com

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