Proposed Rule Changes for Beryllium in Construction and Shipyard Industries

OSHA will not be enforcing the new beryllium standards for those covered by the construction and shipyard sectors at this time. They have proposed to retract some of the provisions contained within the final rule for these two sectors. The proposal does, however, keep the lower permissible exposure limit (PEL) and short term exposure limit (STEL), 0.2  µg/m3 and 2.0 µg/m3, respectively, for beryllium in the construction and shipyard industries. OSHA proposes to keep the lowered exposure limits due to the risk of chronic beryllium disease and lung cancer for those exposed to beryllium. According to OSHA, beryllium exposure in the construction and shipyard sectors is fairly restricted to abrasive blasting (construction and shipyard) and welding (shipyard), therefore standards already in effect, such as the respiratory protection standard, ventilation and protection in welding, cutting, and heating in shipyards standard, etc., may provide enough protection for those exposed to beryllium. Comments from the public on the new proposed rule will be taken by OSHA until August 28, 2017.

The final rule on the beryllium standard for general industry became effective on May 20, 2017, and will not be affected by OSHA’s proposed changes to the beryllium standard for those covered by the construction and shipyard standards. If you need industrial hygiene sampling to be in compliance with the general industry rule, contact us.

For more information on the proposed rule, see https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2017/06/27/2017-12871/occupational-exposure-to-beryllium-and-beryllium-compounds-in-construction-and-shipyard-sectors.

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