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Industrial Hygiene Sampling

SAMPLING TO ASSESS EMPLOYEE EXPOSURE TO CHROME 

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This manufacturing facility supports one of the world’s leading designers, manufacturers and distributors of clean air and ride performance products for the automotive, commercial truck, off-highway and large engine markets. The company has more than 90 manufacturing facilities and 14 engineering centers located in 24 countries on six continents. After installing a new rod welding process, this facility contacted Tioga with a request to perform independent exposure monitoring for employees to ensure that they were not being impacted by emissions of hexavalent chromium.

This new welding process used high heat to fuse metal rods containing hexavalent chromium, and there was potential for employees to be exposed to airborne vapors during their work shifts. Therefore, Tioga prepared a sampling plan in accordance with OSHA regulations to conduct air monitoring and determine potential exposure levels to hexavalent chromium vapors for the employees working in the vicinity of this process.

The sampling consisted of collecting a personal air sample from the operator of this rod welding equipment in addition to area samples representative of other workers who may be in the vicinity of this process over an eight-hour shift. The locations for the area air samples were chosen to represent a “worst case” exposure scenario for employees working in the immediate vicinity of the rod welding machine. Each of the air samples collected along with one field blank sample were submitted for laboratory analysis. 

Based on the results of the air sampling, Tioga concluded that the analysis did not indicate the presence of hexavalent chromium at concentrations above the action level or OSHA’s Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) in any of the samples collected.  

Based on these conclusions, Tioga recommended that no further assessment was warranted, until there is a change in the production process, raw materials, equipment, personnel, work practices or control methods that may result in new or additional exposures to hexavalent chromium or until the facility has any reason to believe that new or additional exposures have occurred.