This autumn, labour inspectors will carry out an inspection campaign on about one hundred metal treatment and coating firms. Emphasis will be placed on those which use hexavalent chromium compounds, carcinogenic compounds which will be banned in future under the REACH regulations.
For their metal treatment and coating work, firms often use hazardous substances, which can cause occupational injuries and diseases. Paint removers often contain powerful acids (e.g. sulphuric or nitric acid), or alkaline solutions such as caustic soda. Likewise, the galvanizing industry (electroplating) uses toxic and carcinogenic products (such as hexavalent chromium compounds). The operations of cleaning and spray painting of metal coatings can be performed with products containing volatile organic solvents (such as toluene and xylene). In some circumstances, metal dusts and paint powders should also be considered as hazardous chemical substances.
This inspection campaign aims to check that companies are aware of their obligations and have taken the necessary measures, such as switching to less hazardous products and methods.
During the inspections, the inspectors’ actions can range from verbal or written advice to a warning and even termination of the work if serious violations are detected.
To find out more (in French)