Beryllium Exposure to Workers – OSHA Proposes New Beryllium Standard

If you need beryllium exposure of workers evaluation in compliance with the new OSHA Beryllium standard assistance discussed in this article call us at 1-800-344-4414 or email us at info@atlenv.com for details and a free estimate.

 

Written by Robert E. Sheriff, MS, CIH, CSP, President

November 14, 2018

In August 2015, OSHA proposed a new rule to further control workers’ exposures to beryllium. The Beryllium Standard (29 CFR 1910.1024) went into effect on March 10, 2017.  The exposure assessment provision went into effect on March 12, 2018.  The change rooms and showers provisions go into effect on March 11, 2019 and the engineering controls requirement go into effect on March 10, 2020.  Most facilities in industry already know whether they are handling beryllium and have taken steps to control workers’ exposures. However, OSHA now believes that the current permissible exposure limit (PEL) of 2 micrograms per cubic meter of air (2 ug/M3) is not protective enough from the diseases caused by beryllium exposure.  The new PEL is 0.2 ug/M3—a tenfold reduction in the allowable exposure.

Beryllium is a strong but light metal and has many uses in electronic devices but also used in bearings, springs and similar equipment as copper/beryllium alloy because of its hardness.

The new standard is 29 CFR 1910.1024.

The beryllium standard requires:

  1. Initial exposure monitoring and regular monitoring thereafter.
  2. Medical exams, medical removal criteria.
  3. Training.
  4. Workplace hygiene, clothing.
  5. Housekeeping.
  6. Records retention.

The full standard can be found at https://www.osha.gov/laws-regs/regulations/standardnumber/1910/1910.1024

Beryllium is recognized as causing or contributing to a number of diseases. The most recognized of these is Chronic Beryllium Disease (CBD) a sensitization lung disease. It is also known as berylliosis. It is OSHA’s belief that CBD can result from exposure even below the current PEL—and thus the basis for a ten-fold decrease in the allowable PEL. Further, beryllium has been linked to lung cancer and is currently listed as a known human carcinogen.

We can assist in assuring compliance with the proposed rule through our monitoring capabilities, program development, and training resources.

 

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