Hexavalent Chromium Exposure

Hexavalent Chromium

Identifying and evaluating potential risks associated with asbestos, lead, mold and radon

Respirator Fit Testing

face piece

A “fit test” tests the seal between the respirator’s facepiece and your face. It takes about fifteen to twenty minutes to complete and is performed at least annually .

OSHA’s Respirable Crystalline Silica Standard for General Industry and Maritime

Respirable Crystalline Silica

How are the workers in General Industry and Maritime facilities exposed to Respirable Crystalline Silica? What standards does the employer needs to comply with?

OSHA’s Respirable Crystalline Silica Standard for Construction

Respirable Crystalline Silica

Workers who are exposed to respirable crystalline silica dust are at increased risk of developing serious silica-related diseases. OSHA’ standard requires employers to take steps to protect workers from exposure to respirable crystalline silica .

Noise Assessment & Control

noise control

Comprehensive occupational noise surveys for exposure limits, as well as ACGIH TLVs and other exposure guidelines.

Asbestos Survey and Inspections


Asbestos Surveys are developed based on client needs, regulations, and current and anticipated property uses.

Hexavalent Chromium Exposure Control Program

What is it?

In October 2006 the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) passed standards on exposure to hexavalent chromium (Cr(VI)).

Exposure to Cr(VI) has been linked to significant health effects including: dermatitis and skin ulcers, respiratory tract irritation and sensitization, nasal septum perforation, eye injuries, liver and kidney damage, and lung cancer.

What industries are being targeted under OSHA’s NEP for Cr(VI)?

Electroplating Operations

Shipyard and Maritime Operations

Foundries, Steel Mills and Other Molten Metal Handling Operations

Construction and Maintenance Activities Including:

Welding and Thermal Cutting
Grinding and Surface Preparation
Abrasive Blasting

How do I know if my operations are covered by the OSHA Standards on Cr(VI)?
Following are the most common Metal Alloys Containing Cr(VI):

300, 400, and 900 Series Stainless Steel Alloys

Foundries, Steel Mills and Other Molten Metal Handling Operations

Inconel and Other Specialty Alloys Used in Chemical and Petroleum Processing.

Many paint pigments contain chromium compounds as well, especially yellows and greens. Abrasive blasting and other surface preparation can result in exposures.

Respirator Fit Testing

There are two types of fit tests: Qualitative and Quantitative
Qualitative Fit Testing

Qualitative fit testing is a pass/fail test method that uses your sense of taste or smell, or your reaction to an irritant in order to detect leakage into the respirator facepiece. Qualitative fit testing does not measure the actual amount of leakage. Whether the respirator passes or fails the test is based simply on you detecting leakage of the test substance into your face piece. There are four qualitative fit test methods accepted by OSHA:

Isoamyl acetate, which smells like bananas;

Saccharin, which leaves a sweet taste in your mouth;

Bitrex, which leaves a bitter taste in your mouth; and

Irritant smoke, which can cause coughing.

Qualitative fit testing is normally used for half-mask respirators, those that just cover your mouth and nose. Half-mask respirators can be filtering facepiece respirators, often called “N95s” – as well as elastomeric respirators.

Quantitative Fit Testing

Quantitative fit testing uses a machine to measure the actual amount of leakage into the facepiece and does not rely upon your sense of taste, smell, or irritation in order to detect leakage. The respirators used during this type of fit testing will have a probe attached to the facepiece that will be connected to the machine by a hose. There are three quantitative fit test methods accepted by OSHA:

Generated aerosol;

Ambient aerosol; and

Controlled Negative Pressure.

Quantitative fit testing can be used for any type of tight-fitting respirator.

Respirable Crystalline Silica Standard for Construction

What is Respirable Crystalline Silica?

Crystalline silica is a common mineral that is found in construction materials such as sand, stone, concrete, brick, and mortar. When workers cut, grind, drill, or crush materials that contain crystalline silica, very small dust particles are created. These tiny particles (known as “respirable” particles) can travel deep into workers’ lungs and cause silicosis, an incurable and sometimes deadly lung disease. Respirable crystalline silica also causes lung cancer, other potentially debilitating respiratory diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and kidney disease. In most cases, these diseases occur after years of exposure to respirable crystalline silica.

How are Construction Workers Exposed to Respirable Crystalline Silica?

Exposure to respirable crystalline silica can occur during common construction tasks, such as using masonry saws, grinders, drills, jackhammers and handheld powered chipping tools; operating vehicle-mounted drilling rigs; milling; operating crushing machines; using heavy equipment for demolition or certain other tasks; and during abrasive blasting and tunneling operations. About two million construction workers are exposed to respirable crystalline silica in over 600,000 workplaces.

What Does the Standard Require?

The standard (29 CFR 1926.1153) requires employers to limit worker exposures to respirable crystalline silica and to take other steps to protect workers. Employers can either use a control method laid out in Ta b le 1 of the construction standard, or they can measure workers’ exposure to silica and independently decide which dust controls work best to limit exposures in their workplaces to the permissible exposure limit (PEL).

Alternative Exposure Control Methods

Employers who do not fully implement the control methods on Table 1 must: Determine the amount of silica that workers are exposed to if it is, or may reasonably be expected to be, at or above the action level of 25 μg/m3 (micrograms of silica per cubic meter of air), averaged over an 8-hour day;

Protect workers from respirable crystalline silica exposures above the PEL of 50 μg/m3, averaged over an 8-hour day;

Use dust controls and safer work methods to protect workers from silica exposures above the PEL; and

Provide respirators to workers when dust controls and safer work methods cannot limit exposures to the PEL.

What Else Does the Standard Require?
Establish and implement a written exposure control plan that identifies tasks that involve exposure and methods used to protect workers, including procedures to restrict access to work areas where high exposures may occur;

Restrict housekeeping practices that expose workers to silica, such as use of compressed air without a ventilation system to capture the dust and dry sweeping, where effective, safe alternatives are available;

Offer medical exams—including chest X-rays and lung function tests—every three years for workers who are required by the standard to.

Noise Assessment and Control

What do these surveys include?

These surveys include area noise measurements, personal noise dosimetry, noise contour mapping, and source characterization.

Octave Band Analysis

Using octave band analysis, Peace Environmental can record source characterization measurements to aide in identifying methods for noise control.

Industrial hygienists design and implement effective hearing conservation programs to ensure regulatory compliance and minimize worker exposures to occupational noise.

Hearing Conservation Program (HCP)

The primary elements of a comprehensive HCP include:

Noise monitoring

Engineering & Administrative Noise Control

Audiometric testing

Hearing protection



Non-Industrial Settings

Peace Environmental also performs area noise monitoring surveys in non-industrial settings for comparison to community standards and local ordinances. These surveys generally include characterizing the noise along the perimeter of the property and at potential receptor sites. We can assist you in the development of a Hearing Conservation Program (HCP) in accordance with OSHA’s Occupational Noise Exposure Standard (29CFR 1910.95).

Asbestos Survey and Inspection

The Asbestos Surveys typically include identification of suspect ACM, condition evaluation, collection of bulk samples following EPA recommended sampling guidelines, and review of building plans. If you have recently applied for a building or demolition permit in Texas, you may need to perform an asbestos survey according to the Texas Asbestos Health Protection Rules.