OSHA has released a new proposed rule to protect worker exposure to beryllium. Beryllium is used in specialty alloys and beryllium oxide ceramics and composites. It can be found in consumer electronics and satellite communication modules. Employees who inhale beryllium particles are at risk of developing chronic beryllium disease (CBD). CBD is incurable, debilitation and can be a fatal lung disease. OSHA is proposing a new beryllium standard that will revise the existing lower permissible exposure limits (PELs). This rule is being proposed due to the fact that strong evidence shows the current beryllium PELs do not adequately protect workers. Since PELs were adopted in 1971 beryllium has been identified as a human carcinogen. The proposed rule would set the new PEL for general industry at 0.2 micrograms of respirable beryllium per cubic meter of air averaged over eight hours. The proposed rule also includes requirements for measuring workers exposure to beryllium, limiting access to areas where the PEL is exceeded, implementing control measure to reduce beryllium exposures, training on beryllium exposure hazards and retention of medical records for workers exposed to beryllium.

Written comments on the proposed rule can be submitted until November 5, 2015. If SMG can assist you in submitting comments on this proposed rule please contact Sarah Carty at sarahc@smithmanage.com.

For more information please visit www.osha.gov/beryllium