Hexavalent Chromium

Hexavalent chromium is one of several oxidation states of the element chromium and is commonly used in chrome plating operations to deposit a corrosion-resistant coating on metal parts. Hexavalent chromium is also produced when chrome metal or alloys containing chrome metal are heated to high temperatures, such as during the welding of stainless steel.

Hexavalent Chromium

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What are the hazards associated with hexavalent chromium?

Cr(VI) is known to cause cancer. In addition, it targets the respiratory system, kidneys, liver, skin and eyes.

Is there a special emphasis program associated with this topic?

Occupational exposure to hexavalent chromium falls within the OSH Division health hazards special emphasis program.

What can I do to protect myself?

Employees working around chrome plating operations should ensure they are wearing the necessary personal protective equipment when working around these processes. Employees who are welding stainless steel and other high chromium content alloys should be sure to position the workpieces between themselves and the exhaust ventilation.

Your employer is required to provide respiratory protection in accordance with the respiratory protection standard, 29 CFR 1910.134, when ventilation is not sufficient to maintain your exposure below the permissible exposure limit.

What resources are available to assist employers?

Training and Outreach Services

Related presentations on welding and cutting for workplaces in general industry and construction, toxic and hazardous substances, respiratory protection, and hazard communication are available to assist employers to train their staff. The presentations should be modified to address site-specific conditions and hazards. 

In addition, the education, training and technical assistance bureau provides free online safety and health training and outreach services (i.e., speaker's bureau requests, safety booths) upon request. 

Lastly, the NCDOL Library offers free safety and health videos (including streaming video services) and related research assistance on consensus standards (i.e., ANSI, NFPA, NEC).

Safety and Health Programs

Example programs for hazard communicationhazardous chemicals and respiratory protection can be used to assist employers in the development of their overall comprehensive safety and health program. A PPE hazard assessment  should be used to ensure that all PPE has been identified to protect the employee from exposure.

A-Z Safety and Health Topics

Additional resources can be found on the A-Z topics pages for respiratory protection, hazard communication, eyewash stations and emergency showers and personal protective equipment

Consultation Services

Lastly, the consultative services bureau provides free and confidential onsite consultation regarding worksite safety and health hazards.




Which standards apply?

OSH has adopted the following standards which are applicable to hexavalent chromium in North Carolina. Note: Please also check the standards information and activity webpage to see if there has been any recent or upcoming regulatory activity on this topic. 

General Industry


Maritime, Shipyard Employment

29 CFR 1915.1026 - hexavalent chromium

Other Applicable Standards

The Which OSHA Standards Apply webpage can also help identify other standards that may be applicable to your worksite.

Where can I learn more?

Industry Guides

Compliance Documents

Compliance Directive: CPL 02-02-074, Inspection Procedures for the Chromium (VI) Standards, establishes enforcement procedures and provides an explanation of the hexavalent chromium standards to ensure uniform enforcement.

Technical Assistance

If you would like to receive interpretive guidance on this or any other OSH standard or topic, you can submit your questions using the Ask OSH web form, by e-mail to ask.osh@labor.nc.gov or by calling 919-707-7876.