Wichita-based aircraft manufacturer Spirit AeroSystems was fined $193,000 by the US Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) for exposing employees to carcinogenic hexavalent chromium, according to an official OSHA release. According to the document, OSHA found Spirit had “failed to implement feasible engineering controls to limit employee exposure” to the toxic chemical and then “failed to establish protocols to ensure that employees remove contaminated personal protective equipment and clothing before leaving the work area.”

The findings were the result of a December 2018 on-site inspection by OSHA of the Wichita KS plant.

That same plant holds OHSAS 18001 certification issued by registrar DNV-GL and accredited by the Dutch accreditation body RvA. Oxebridge has confirmed the certificates are still valid.

OHSAS 18001 is an occupational health and safety standard recently replaced by ISO 45001, although OHSAS 18001 certificates are still valid at this time. According to the DNV-GL website, certification to the standard provides companies a way to “demonstrate …commitment to health and safety at work and provide assurance that legal compliance is effectively managed.”

Independent assessment and certification of your occupational health and safety management system by DNV GL proves that you have a compliant system in place. Certification to an internationally recognized management system standard demonstrates that you are working to provide safe and healthy workplaces by preventing work-related injury and ill-health and that you are proactively working to improve your OH&S performance.

If any employees were exposed to the hexavalent chrome, both Spirit and DNV-GL could face litigation, contradicting DNV’s marketing claims.

OSHA’s notice was released on May 7, 2019, and so far DNV-GL has not withdrawn Spirit’s certification.

Spirit is at the center of Boeing’s latest controversy, as defective slat tracks have been found on numerous 737MAX and 737NG airplanes, and were manufactured by an as-yet unidentified Spirit sub-tier supplier.


ISO Benchmark

DNV-GL has faced prior controversies with its certifications. The company had certified Korry Electronics (Everett WA) and Leach (Buena Park CA) to AS9100, even as the companies were later found to have violated ITAR regulations over 180 times.

DNV issued the RC14001 “Responsible Care” environmental management certificate to the California utility PG&E which was found to have caused the massive California wildfires which killed over 85 people and destroyed thousands of homes.

Panasonic Avionics was forced to pay $137 million in fines after the US Securities and Exchange Commission and US Dept. of Justice found that the company bribed government officials and airline consultants in order to win lucrative contracts. The company retained its AS9100 certificate issued by DNV regardless.

With the exception of the OHSAS 18001 certificate which was accredited by RvA, all the DNV-GL certificates were accredited by US-based accreditation body ANAB.