Joe The Welder

New Regulations on Welding Fume Extractors and Hexavalent Chromium

by admin on Jul.07, 2009, under Ace Fume Extractor

Not all fume extractors are created equal !!!  All extract welding fumes and particulates from the air and they do make for a cleaner environment . But unless they have a hepa filter dont expect to get rid of Hexavalent Chromium .

  Hexavalent Chromium, or Cr(VI), became a part of the  welding lexicon with the implementation of OSHA Standard 29 CFR 1910.1026.  Compliance methods discussed in the standard center around the need to reduce Cr(VI) to a specified PEL, or Permissible Exposure Limit.  Methods of compliance include materials substitution, employee isolation, and ventilation.  All methods have their merits and limitations, and their utilization depends largely on the needs and circumstances of individual welding operations.   

  Where substitution and isolation methods are not practical, a welding operation seeking compliance with the OSHA standard will  by necessity turn to ventilation methods. These methods include circulation fans and local exhaust, or source capture, systems.   Circulation and exhaust fans, while widely used,  do not by their nature clean air, but only disperse Cr(VI) particulate.  As such, this method may not necessarily reduce PELs to compliance levels, and could leave workers at risk.   

 OSHA therefore recommends that welders utilize source capture systems, indicating that such systems provide the cleanest and healthiest workplaces.  Source capture systems include filtering machines such as  fume extractors and downdraft tables, and fume exhausters used with extraction arms.  Filtering units provide a greater degree of protection of the two source capture methods, because the units capture and contain the harmful particulate and recirculate clean air back into the workplace.    While various types of filters exist for this purpose, HEPA filters provide the absolute greatest protection.

Ace Fume Extractors offers many source capture products that can be equipped with HEPA filters are indicated on their website with the following symbol:


This symbol is your assurance that you have selected a product that provides the greatest level of protection against Hexavalent Chromium.

The final phase of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s new rules governing exposure to hexavalent chromium, in which employers are required to implement feasible and/or necessary engineering controls into their workplaces, will take effect on May 31, 2010.

Hexavalent chromium is created in many types of welding, but primarily stainless steel welding. The new regulations apply to general industrial, shipyard and construction welding.

All employers have already been required to ensure employees are exposed to no more than 5 micrograms of hexavalent chromium per cubic meter of air, which was mainly accomplished through the use of respirators and work practice controls. However, these new regulations require employers go one step further to implement engineering controls, such as the use of localized air filtration systems and facility-wide ventilation systems.

One of the challenges employers face as they strive to meet the new regulations will be to understand how the new engineering controls rules affect their specific operations. Without direction that applies to their individual workplaces, the definition of “feasible and/or necessary” could place companies in the position of enacting too few or too many engineering controls.

Has your company begun implementing the engineering controls required to comply with OSHA’s hexavalent chromium regulations? Are you struggling to understand whether your company needs to implement engineering controls, or whether work practice changes and respirators are enough to meet the new OSHA requirements in effect May 31, 2010?  Share your thoughts by posting a comment below.



So depending upon your level of exposure and regulations make sure you have a quality and safe extractor in place .  For more info call 800-783-3073    BR Weldingsupplies.



























































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