Managing the threat of Chromium VI to protect workers health

Chromium VI is a threat facing workers across heavy industries with the potential to cause significant harm to health (e.g. cancer). 

IOM are here to help, using our extensive scientific and engineering experience. We offer hazard assessments and controls, working alongside clients to create safe, healthy and compliant environments.

When insulating materials containing calcium are used, an unwanted thermal reaction between the calcium in the insulation system and stainless-steel fixing or part to be insulated occurs and creates Chromium VI.

Chromium VI testing in action

Chromium VI testing in action.

This substance is found in many other processes and products, such as:

  • The production and use of stainless steel and other chromium alloys (and during the welding and cutting of these)
  • Pigments for paint and pottery
  • Catalysts in the chemical manufacturing industry
  • The production of dyestuffs
  • Leather tanning agents
  • Electroplating/anodising

Today we are at the forefront of effective solutions to address the workplace health risks that occupational exposure to Chromium VI presents.

Our comprehensive and evidence based end-to-end approach ensures businesses stay ahead of this highly toxic threat and in so doing protect and reassure their workforce, comply with legislation, and safeguard their business continuity.

Let us work with you to create a bespoke protection and control strategy which will prevent and minimise the increasing risks of Chromium VI.

Assess the risks to health and implement controls

A known carcinogen, a single exposure of Chromium VI inhaled or swallowed, can irritate the nose, eyes, and skin, with repeated exposure resulting in serious disease such as lung cancer and organ damage.

As set out by the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) regulations, employers must identify and assess any current risks and ensure effective controls to keep exposure levels to an absolute minimum as far as reasonably practicable and not just below workplace exposure limits of 0.01mg/m3.

With numerous information streams, this may seem overwhelming but the in-house team at IOM provide clear, independent, and professional guidance and practical solutions to help businesses achieve this with:


  • Thorough site investigation surveys to effectively audit any potential exposure threat areas or provide questionnaires in advance of a site visit.
  • Air and surface sampling to identify areas contaminated and quantify how much Chromium VI workers are exposed to.
  • Providing advice on appropriate ventilation and engineering solutions to reduce exposure levels and keep staff protected.
  • Face fit testing so that respiratory protective equipment (RPE) is working properly and effectively.
  • Providing peace of mind with testing after interventions so that everyone knows that the threat has been eliminated.

Worker awareness and education

Training employees to work safely with Chromium VI and raising their awareness of its dangers is the responsibility of the employer.

IOM offers comprehensive training modules around COSHH management processes to ensure that workers stay safe when working with Chromium VI by following the correct practices and precautions.

This covers but is not limited to:

  • Wearing the appropriate RPE
  • How to contain and manage contaminated areas
  • Ensuring correct washing prior to eating, drinking, or smoking
  • Handling and washing of contaminated clothing
  • What to do should exposure occur
  • Disposal of waste
  • Decontamination

IOM will audit safety management from the top to the bottom to educate and improve worker safety.

Act now for future protection

The health impacts of Chromium VI, if not addressed, have the potential to be damaging for workers and businesses. IOM are here to steer industry to a safe and productive future.

Speak to our experts here or connect with Mark Cornforth on LinkedIn for the latest information.