Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued a final rule limiting worker exposure to beryllium and beryllium compounds. The rule contains standards for general industry, construction, and shipyards. All three standards take effect on May 20, 2017 and employers must comply with most elements of the rule starting March 12, 2018. However, employers have until March 11, 2019 to provide required change rooms and showers, and until March 10, 2020 to implement engineering controls.
The key provisions of the rule are:
- Reduces the permissible exposure limit (PEL) for beryllium to 0.2 micrograms per cubic meter of air, averaged over 8-hours.
- Establishes a new short term exposure limit for beryllium of 2.0 micrograms per cubic meter of air, over a 15-minute sampling period.
- Requires employers to: use engineering and work practice controls (such as ventilation or enclosure) to limit worker exposure to beryllium; provide respirators when controls cannot adequately limit exposure; limit worker access to high-exposure areas; develop a written exposure control plan; and train workers on beryllium hazards.
- Requires employers to make available medical exams to monitor exposed workers and provides medical removal protection benefits to workers identified with a beryllium-related disease.