Division of Labor and Industry


MOSH Instruction 07-10 - Maryland Occupational Safety and Health (MOSH)

To: All MOSH Personnel
From: Roger Campbell, Assistant Commissioner
Subject: Portland Cement Inspection Procedures on Construction Sites
References: CPL 02-02-TBD, Inspection Procedures for the Chromium VI Standards
OSHA Memorandum dated April 16, 2007, Inspection Procedures for Construction Sites Using Portland Cement
Settlement agreement between OSHA and the Building Trades Department, AFL-CIO, Laborers' International Union of North America, and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters
Effective Date: Immediately
Date: January 18, 2008

A. Purpose: To establish inspection procedures and recording requirements for employers who are using Portland Cement on constructions sites.

B. Background: In a memorandum dated April 16, 2007, for Regional Administrators and State Designees, Edwin G. Foulke, Jr., Assistant Secretary for OSHA strongly encouraged that those States with OSHA-approved state occupational safety and health plans in the private sector to honor and implement the terms of the agreement between OSHA and the Building Trades, Department, AFL-CIO, Laborers' International Union, and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, by implementing the new Portland Cement Inspections Procedures.

C. Action:

1. Compliance and Consultation Supervisors shall ensure that training sessions are
conducted on the contents of this instruction.

2. The Assistant Commissioner or authorized representative shall ensure compliance with the attached guidelines for enforcement.

3. The Chief, MOSH Compliance Services, shall ensure that the policy and procedures contained in this instruction are followed when conducting inspections on construction sites where Portland Cement is being used. See Appendix A: Portland Cement Inspection Procedures.

4. The Portland Cement Checklist (Appendix B) shall be completed and placed in each case file when Portland Cement is being used by employees during an inspection of an employer on a construction site.

5. The Chief, MOSH Compliance Services, shall ensure that compliance personnel are trained in this instruction.

Roger Campbell, Assistant Commissioner, MOSH


cc: J. Ronald DeJuliis, Commissioner, Division of Labor and Industry
Craig D. Lowry, Deputy Commissioner, Division of Labor and Industry
Jonathan R. Krasnoff, Deputy Counsel, Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation
Office of Administrative Hearings


APPENDIX A: Portland Cement Inspection Procedures

Portland cement is one of the most widely-used formulations of cement in construction and the occupational health hazards are generally well known. These include inhalation, dermal, and eye hazards, some of which result from trace constituents generally found in portland cement, including hexavalent chromium "Cr(VI)". Cr(VI) is a trace constituent of portland cement not because it is an added ingredient but because it is a contaminant that enters the mixture during its manufacture. Generally there is less than 20 ug Cr(VI) per gram of cement, or 20 parts per million (ppm).

OSHA's Cr(VI) standards do not apply to operations with portland cement because OSHA determined that compliance with pre-existing OSHA general standards provides adequate protection for employees exposed to the trace amounts of Cr(VI) found in portland cement. The applicable OSHA standards are those for air contaminants, personal protective equipment, sanitation, and hazard communication. This Appendix explains how these standards, and OSHA's recordkeeping regulations, are to be enforced at workplaces, primarily construction workplaces, where employees are exposed to portland cement. A one-page checklist is also included to assist compliance officers in these inspections. For all OSHA inspections where compliance officers find employee exposures to portland cement, the OSHA-l forms shall be marked with following coding for future tracking purposes:

OSHA-1………………………………… Block 42: Type = N ID = 11 Value Portland

Dermal and Eye Hazards: Exposure to dry portland cement may cause drying of the skin and mild irritation, or more significant effects from the aggravation of other conditions. Wet portland cement is caustic pH> 12 and dermal exposure may cause more severe skin effects, including thickening, cracking or fissuring of the skin. Prolonged exposure can cause severe skin damage in the form of chemical caustic burns. Eye exposures to portland cement may cause immediate or delayed irritation or inflammation of the cornea. Eye contact with larger amounts of dry powder or splashes of wet portland cement may cause effects ranging from moderate eye irritation to chemical burns and blindness.

Some individuals who are exposed to portland cement may exhibit an allergic response, which can result in symptoms ranging from mild rashes to severe skin ulcers. Cement dermatitis may be irritant contact dermatitis induced by the alkaline, abrasive, and hygroscopic (water-absorbing) properties of portland cement, or it may be allergic contact dermatitis elicited by an immunological reaction to Cr(VI), or it may be a combination of the two.

PPE: OSHA's general standards for personal protective equipment PPE, 29 CFR 1910.132 for general industry, 29 CFR 1915.152 for shipyards, and 29 CFR 1926.95 for construction, require employers to ensure that appropriate PPE is provided, effectively used, and maintained. Appropriate PPE should include boots and gloves, and may also include eye protection, such as safety glasses with side shields or goggles, in some circumstances. Such equipment must he maintained in a sanitary and reliable condition when not in use, and employees must be able to clean or exchange their equipment if it becomes ineffective or contaminated on the inside with cement. In addition to long-sleeved shirts and long pants, protective clothing such as coveralls
may also be appropriate to prevent the skin from coming in contact with cement.

Because the general PPE standards provide protection essentially equivalent to the PPE provision in the Cr(VI) standards, compliance with them should provide adequate protection against the Cr(VI) hazards from portland cement. Compliance officers must confirm that appropriate PPE is provided, used, and maintained.

Sanitation: The requirements for washing facilities in OSHA's general sanitation standards are also comparable to the hygiene provisions found in the Cr(VI) standards. For example, OSHA's Sanitation standard for general industry explicitly requires that lavatories with running water, hand soap, and individual hand towels or air-blowers be available in all places of employment. See 29 CFR l910.14l(d)(2).

In construction operations where employees may be exposed to harmful contaminants, the sanitation standard requires employers to "provide adequate washing facilities . . . in near proximity to the worksite [that must] be so equipped as to enable employees to remove such substances." 29 CFR l926.51(f)(l).1 The shipyards sanitation standard similarly requires "adequate washing facilities for employees engaged in. . . operations where contaminants can, by ingestion or absorption, be detrimental to the health of the employees." 29 CFR 1915.97(b). In order to effectively remove portland cement, employers must provide washing facilities with clean water, non-alkaline soap and clean towels. This interpretation of 1926.51(f)(l) and 1915.97(b) is consistent with the evidence in the Cr(VI) rulemaking record and with OSHA's previous interpretations of these standards.

Inhalation Hazards I PELs: Inhalation of dry portland cement may cause irritation to the moist mucous membranes of the nose, throat and upper respiratory system, or may cause or aggravate certain lung diseases or conditions. Although portland cement is not recognized as a carcinogen by NTP, OSHA, or IARC, it generally contains small amounts of substances, such as crystalline silica and Cr(VI), which are recognized as carcinogens by these organizations.

OSHA's PELs for both portland cement and particulates not otherwise regulated PNOR are 15 mg/m3 as total dust, and 5 mg/m3 for the respirable fraction where listed. Because there are only trace amounts of Cr(VI) in portland cement, these PELs provide greater protection against Cr(VI) inhalation hazards than the new Cr(VI) PEL of 5 tg/m3 that is, an employee exposed to 15 mg/rn3 of portland cement dust with a Cr(VI) concentration below 20 ug/g, will be exposed to less than 0.3 p.g/m3 of Cr(VI).

Compliance officers must confirm that concentrations of portland cement dust are at or below the 15 mg/m3 PEL. If maintaining portland cement exposure levels below 15 mg/m3 is not feasible, exposed employees must wear respiratory protection in accordance with 29 CFR 1910.134. This would be most likely in construction operations such as terrazzo work, mixing mortar and jobsite mixing of concrete.

Paragraph 29 CFR 1926.5l(f)(3), which requires "hot and cold running water, or tepid running water," is only applicable to permanent places of employment where construction work is occurring; however, the general requirement in paragraph (f)(1) applies to all construction work.

Training I Hazard Communication: Portland cement is considered a hazardous chemical under OSHA's Hazard Communication standard, 29 CFR 1910.1200 HAZCOM, and should be included in the employer's hazard communication program. Employers whose employees are exposed to portland cement must provide appropriate training discussed below, maintain labels and copies of MSDSs for portland cement in their workplaces, and ensure that these documents are readily accessible during each work shift.

HAZCOM also requires chemical manufacturers and importers to assess the hazards of chemicals that they produce or import and disseminate information regarding those hazards. Among other information, each MSDS must identify the hazardous chemicals it pertains to, and the health hazards presented by those chemicals, "including signs and symptoms of exposure," as well as generally applicable precautions for safe handling and use and control measures. 29 CFR 1910.1200(g).

Because portland cement is a mixture, HAZCOM provides two ways in which the MSDS can list the hazardous chemicals it contains. If the mixture is tested as a whole to determine its hazards, the standard allows the MSDS to list only "the ingredients which contribute to these known hazards." For a mixture that has not been tested as a whole, the MSDS must include the ingredients present in a concentration below 1% 0.1% for a carcinogens - as is likely for the Cr(VI) in portland cement - "if there is evidence that the ingredients(s) could be released from the mixture in concentrations which ... could present a health risk to employees" (as well as in other circumstances not relevant here).

MSDS's for portland cement are expected to indicate the dermal and inhalation hazards described above. Because there is evidence that exposure to the Cr(VI) in portland cement could cause sensitization and allergic dermatitis, MSDS's for portland cement that is contaminated by Cr(VI) are expected to indicate the presence of Cr(VI) and to address this hazard. Compliance officers are to address deficiencies in MSDS's in accordance with CPL 02-02-038, Inspection Procedures for the Hazard Communication Standard.

OSHA's general construction training standard, 29 CFR 1926.2 1b, and the HAZCOM training provision, 29 CFR 19 10.1200h, are applicable to operations with portland cement exposure. Compliance officers must verify that employers are complying with these provisions by instructing employees working with portland cement about the hazards of portland cement, including any hazards associated with the cement's Cr(VI) content.

Inspection Checklist: At every inspection site where the OSHA compliance officer encounters employees working with portland cement, the officer shall determine, at a minimum, the employer's compliance with the general standards described above. A checklist is provided on the following page to assist compliance officers in these worksite inspections. This checklist sets forth the specific provisions of these general standards that employers must follow in order to control the inhalation, dermal, and eye hazards associated with exposures to portland cement.

Further health and safety information on the concrete industry is available at the OSHA website's Safety and Health Topic Page on Construction.

Case Number:

Appendix B: Portland Cement Inspection Checklist

PPE 1910.132, 1926.95

____ Are employees wearing the appropriate boots, gloves and safety glasses?
____ Can employees clean or exchange PPE if it becomes contaminated or ineffective?
____ Is PPE maintained in a sanitary condition when not in use?

Sanitation 1910.141(d), 1926.51(f)(1)

____ Are facilities provided with clean water, non-alkaline soap, and clean towels?
____ Are facilities near the worksite?
____ Is there an adequate number of facilities?

Exposure to Dust 1910.1000, 1910.134, 1926.55

____ Is exposure to dust less than 15mg/m³ for total dust and less than 5mg/m³ for respirable dust (for an 8hr TWA)?

Hazard Communication and Training 1910.1200, 1926.21
____ Are MSDS's maintained and made available?

  • Does the MSDS include:
    ____ Skin hazards?
    ____ Inhalation hazards?
    ____ Hazards of Hex Chrome?
    ____ Hazards of portland cement e.g. caustic burns?
  • Are employees trained?
    ____ Hazards of exposure to cement and Hex Chrome
    ____ Preventive measures
    ____ Proper use and care of PPE
    ____ Practicing proper hygiene and handwashing
    ____ Location of washing facilities, PPE, and MSDS

Recordkeeping 1904
____ Cases of occupational dermatitis recorded on OSHA 300 log?
____ Employer informs employees of how to report work-related injuries and illnesses?

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