MIOSHA Fact Sheet
General Industry Safety & Health Division
What is chromium VI (hexavalent chromium, Welding on stainless steel, chrome alloys, or
hex-chrome, or Cr VI)? chrome-coated metal; or
Applying and removing chromate-containing
Chromium (Cr) is a naturally occurring metal paints.
element with a wide variety of uses including steel
alloying, pigments, and plating. Chromium exists Is employee exposure to chromium VI
in several different forms, including chromium regulated?
metal, chromium III, and chromium VI. Chromium
VI is found in chemical and industrial processes. Part 315, Chromium (VI) in General Industry is the
Chromic acid (CrO3), chromates (zinc chromate, MIOSHA standard that regulates employee
lead chromate), and dichromates (potassium exposure and requirements in General Industry.
dichromate, sodium dichromate) all contain This standard includes the following requirements:
chromium VI. Chromium metal found in chrome Perform initial air monitoring to determine
plated parts, stainless steel, and other metal alloys is employee exposure. The “action level” (AL) is
not chromium VI. However, it can be generated 0.0025 milligrams of chromium per cubic meter
when welding on stainless steel and other metals of air (mg/m3) and the “permissible exposure
alloyed with chromium. limit” (PEL) is 0.005 mg/m3. Both of these
exposure limits are based on an employee’s
How can chromium VI affect the body? average exposure for an eight-hour work day.
Relative to other exposure limits these limits are
Inhaling chromium VI as a dust, mist, or fume is very low.
known to cause lung cancer and irritation or damage Perform periodic air monitoring, at least every
to the nose and throat. Inhalation can also cause an six months, when initial monitoring shows
allergic reaction that can result in occupational employee exposure at or above the action level.
asthma (wheezing and shortness of breath). As a When the PEL is exceeded, establish a regulated
group, chromium VI compounds are irritants and area and limit access to authorized personnel
corrosive. Therefore, contact with the skin and eyes (people who have to work or be present in the
can cause irritation and damage due to a chemical area).
burn. Skin irritation can also result from an allergic Use appropriate engineering or work practice
skin reaction. controls to reduce employee exposure below
the PEL. This can include local exhaust
Where can exposure to chromium VI ventilation; limiting an operation to a particular
occur? area (enclosed room or booth); having
prescribed methods of performing the job; or
Employees can inhale or contact chromium VI using wet methods to minimize dust.
when: Provide respiratory protection in accordance
Using chromate pigments and powders; with the standard. Respiratory protection
chromium catalysts, dyes, and coatings; cannot substituted for appropriate engineering
Working near chrome electroplating tanks that or work practice controls. Respiratory
use chromic acid; protection is required when the PEL is exceeded
and must be provided in accordance with
MIOSHA Part 451, Respiratory Protection. The o When exposure occurs in an emergency
respiratory protection standard applies when situation; and
employers allow or require the use of o At the termination of employment.
respirators. In addition to all requirements of Part 430,
Provide personal protective clothing or Hazard Communication, employees must be
equipment when there is likely to be a hazard provided with information and training. Each
present from skin or eye contact. Ensure employee must be able to demonstrate
contaminated clothing and equipment is knowledge of:
removed at the workplace, properly stored, o The contents of the chromium VI standard;
cleaned, and replaced. Employees cannot take o The purpose and description of the medical
contaminated items from the workplace. surveillance program; and
Implement good personal hygiene practices o The standard must be readily available to all
and provide for change rooms, washing affected employees.
facilities, and eating and drinking areas as Records must be kept of all air monitoring and
required by the standard. any objective data relied upon to meet the
Maintain all surfaces as free as practicable of standard’s requirements such as materials,
chromium VI by using HEPA-filtered operations, processes, etc. Employee medical
vacuuming or wet cleaning methods. For the surveillance records must be maintained for 30
most part, it is unacceptable to use compressed years.
air or dry sweeping methods to clean surfaces.
Medical surveillance is required: Additional Information
o When the action level is exceeded for 30 or
more days per year; or Please visit the MIOSHA website at
o An employee has signs or symptoms of www.michigan.gov/mioshapublications where
adverse health effects that are associated additional information may be available; or contact
with chromium VI exposure; or the Consultation, Education & Training Division at
DELEG is an equal opportunity employer/program.
Auxiliary aids, services and other reasonable accommodations are available upon request to individuals with disabilities.
General Industry Safety and Health Division
7150 Harris Drive P.O. BOX 30644 LANSING, MICHIGAN 48909-8144
www.michigan.gov/miosha (517) 322-1831
(GISHD Fact Sheet #005 Revised 06/18/2009)