Regulated Areas

OSHA’s industrial regulation for chromium 6, 1910.1026, requires that “regulated areas” be established when an employee’s exposure to chromium 6 is expected to be above the permissible exposure limit. Your employer will mark these areas with signs, barricades or other methods. Make sure you know how your company designates these areas. Do not drink, eat, smoke or apply cosmetics in regulated areas. If fact, do not even bring food, drinks, cigarettes or similar items into these areas at all; they can easily become contaminated. Only authorized persons wearing required protective equipment are permitted to enter regulated areas.

The Cr(VI) standard for general industry includes requirements for regulated areas. The purpose of a regulated area is to ensure that employees are aware of the presence of Cr(VI) at levels above the PEL, and to limit Cr(VI) exposure to as few employees as possible by requiring the employer to mark areas where employee exposure is likely to exceed the PEL and
limit access to these areas to authorized persons. The standard includes provisions for establishment of regulated areas; demarcation of regulated areas; and access to regulated areas. The requirements are not included in the standards for construction or shipyards because they are considered generally impracticable in these environments.

ESTABLISHMENT


Employers must establish regulated areas wherever an employee’s exposure to Cr(VI) is, or can reasonably be expected to be, in excess of the PEL. Information obtained during the exposure determination can be used along with reasonable judgment to determine where regulated areas are required, and to establish the boundaries of regulated areas.


DEMARCATION


Regulated areas must be distinguished from the rest if the workplace in a manner that adequately establishes and alerts employees of the boundaries of the regulated area. The standard does not specify how employers are to demarcate regulated areas. Warning signs, barricades, lines and textured flooring, or other methods may be appropriate. Whatever methods are chosen must effectively warn employees not to enter the area unless they are authorized, and then only if
they are using proper protective equipment, such as respirators.

ACCESS

Employers must limit access to regulated areas. The only individuals allowed access to a regulated area are:

  • Persons authorized by the employer and required by work duties to be present in the regulated area (this may include maintenance and repair personnel, management, quality control engineers, or other personnel if job duties require their presence in the regulated area);
  • Any person entering the area as a designated representative of employees to observe Cr(VI) exposure monitoring; or
  • Any person authorized by the Occupational Safety and Health Act or regulations issued under it to be in a regulated area (e.g., OSHA)