Aircraft Manufacturer Cited For Carcinogen Exposure

WICHITA, KS ‒ The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited aircraft manufacturer Spirit Aerosystems Inc. for exposing employees to hexavalent chromium, a known carcinogen – one of the valence states (+6) of the element chromium. It is usually produced by an industrial process. Cr(VI) is known to cause cancer. In addition, it targets the respiratory system, kidneys, liver, skin, and eyes.

The company faces proposed penalties totaling $194,006 for one willful and five serious violations.

OSHA investigators found that the Kansas-based defense contractor exposed employees to airborne concentrations of hexavalent chromium nearly two times the permissible exposure limit. The company failed to implement sufficient feasible engineering and work practice controls to prevent exposure, conduct monitoring or sampling, provide training, and require employees to properly remove potentially contaminated personal protective equipment and clothing before leaving the sanding area.

OSHA Acting Wichita Area Office Director, Ryan Hodge, said, “This company failed to protect their employees from exposure to a known carcinogen. Employers are required to continually evaluate their facilities for hazards, and use the proper safety controls and equipment to keep their worksites safe and healthy.”