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Beryllium Exposure to Workers – OSHA’s New Beryllium Standard in Effect Since 2018

Written By: Robert E. Sheriff, MS, CIH, CSP, President

December 9, 2019

OSHA’s Beryllium Standard

In August 2015, OSHA proposed a new rule to further control workers’ exposures to Beryllium. The Beryllium Standard (29CFR1910.1024) went into effect on March 10, 2017. The exposure assessment provisions went into effect on March 12, 2018. The change rooms and showers provision are to go into effect on March 11, 2019, and the engineering controls requirement goes into effect on March 10, 2020. Most facilities in the industry already know whether they are handling Beryllium and have taken steps to control workers’ exposures. However, OSHA has reduced the permissible exposure limit (PEL) of 2 micrograms per cubic meter of air (2 ug/M3). The new PEL is 0.2 ug/M3—a tenfold reduction in allowable exposure!! Also an Action Level of 0.1 ug/M3.

Beryllium is a strong but light metal and has many uses. It can be found in:Beryllium Exposure to Workers – OSHA’s New Beryllium Standard in Effect Since 2018

  • Electrical Components Springs.
  • Spot Welding Electrode.
  • High-Speed Aircraft Parts.
  • Missile Components.
  • Communication Devices.
  • Satellite Parts

The new standard is 29CFR1910.1024. The Beryllium standard requires:

  1. Initial exposure monitoring and regular monitoring thereafter for both the PEL and STEL.
  2. Medical exams, medical removal criteria.
  3. Establish a regulated area if the PEL or STEL is exceeded with clothing, showers, and break/lunchrooms.
  4. Training
  5. Workplace hygiene, clothing.
  6. Housekeeping
  7. Records retention.
  8. Written Exposure Control Plan.
  9. Engineering controls if PEL or STEL is exceeded.

SPECIAL NOTE: As with some of the more recent new regulations (lead, silica, etc.), there is follow-up monitoring if the initial monitoring exceeds either the PEL OR THE ACTION LEVEL.

If the PEL is exceeded, follow-up monitoring must be performed within three months of the initial test until 2 successive personnel monitoring, taken at least 7 days apart, are below the Action Level.

If the Action Level is exceeded, follow-up monitoring must be performed within 6 months until 2 successive tests, taken at least 7 days apart, are below the Action Level.

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.

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 e-mail us at info@atlenv.com for details and a free estimate.

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

Our primary service areas for Industrial Hygiene Services and to assist you with an evaluation in compliance with OSHA’s Beryllium Standard are NJNYNYCPACTDE(Boston) MARIWash DCWIMDMI(Chicago) ILVAIN(Atlanta) GAALNCSCTN(Dallas, Ft Worth) TXOKDCAR. We can service most other areas of the U.S. but with some added travel charges.

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