WASHINGTON – Notification requirements in the Hexavalent Chromium [Cr (VI)] standard (29CFR1910.1026) have been amended by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (O.S.H.A.), according to the American Meat Institute (A.M.I.). This standard, as originally written, requires employers to notify employees of any Cr (VI) exposures in excess of the applicable permissible exposure limit (P.E.L.).

O.S.H.A.’s revision to the employee notification requirements requires employers to notify employees of the results of all exposure determinations, not just those that exceed P.E.L. The action comes in the form of a Direct Final Rule, which takes effect on June 15, 2010.

O.S.H.A. also recently released CPL 02-02-076, thecompliance directivefor implementing a National Emphasis Program (N.E.P.) to identify and reduce/eliminate occupational exposure to hexavalent chromium.

Under the new N.E.P.:

? Each region is required to conduct at least five inspections each year. Inspections will generally focus on industries where overexposures to hexavalent chromium are known to occur, for example, electroplating and foundries.

? Employers participating in cooperative programs (e.g. V.P.P.) may be exempt from programmed inspections.

? Inspections under this N.E.P. are to be conducted by an Industrial Hygiene Compliance Officer (I.H. or Health C.S.H.O.) who has received appropriate training.

? Area offices are required to conduct follow-up inspections in certain cases, including where overexposures to hexavalent chromium or other toxic substances (targeted by this N.E.P.) are cited.

Although the meat and poultry industry is not specifically included in the targeted list of industries (N.A.I.C.S. Codes) for this program, the directive provides means by which individual O.S.H.A. area offices may add companies to the inspection list, if they believe Cr (VI) exposures are likely. This could occur, for example, as a result of a regular O.S.H.A. inspection where welding or cutting of stainless steel is noticed by the inspector.