Proposed Standard Intends to Lower Beryllium Exposures

The OSHA proposal has support from Materion, the nation's primary beryllium product manufacturer.

Thanks to collaboration between industry and labor, a long-sought-after OSHA proposal intends to dramatically lower workplace exposure to beryllium, a widely used metal material that can cause lung disease. OSHA estimates that the new proposal would cover 35,000 workers.

The current exposure limit for beryllium, 2.0 micrograms per cubic meter of air, was developed in the 1940s and adopted by OSHA in 1971. The new standard would reduce the eight-hour permissible exposure limit to 0.2 micrograms per cubic meter, a 90 percent decrease.

According to an OSHA news release, the proposed rule would also require additional protections, including personal protective equipment, medical exams, and training.

In a news conference following the release, Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health, said that this was a "long, overdue step" toward protecting workers. Michaels credited the collaboration between OSHA and Materion, the nation's primary beryllium product manufacturer, as well as the United Steelworkers union as the reason for the proposal to finally be published.

"This proposal will save lives and help thousands of workers stay healthy and be more productive on the job," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. "We're pleased that industry has been such a strong voice in advocating for a more rigorous standard. The proposal is strong because of unprecedented partnership between manufacturers and the United Steelworkers."

Workers who inhale beryllium particles can develop chronic beryllium disease and are also at an increased risk of developing lung cancer.

Product Showcase

  • NoiseCHEK Personal Noise Dosimeter

    SKC NoiseCHEK is the easiest-to-use dosimeter available! Designed specifically for OEHS professionals, SKC NoiseCHEK offers the easiest operation and accurate noise measurements. Everything you need is right in your palm. Pair Bluetooth models to your mobile devices and monitor workers remotely with the SmartWave dB app without interrupting workflow. Careful design features like a locking windscreen, sturdy clip, large front-lit display, bright status LEDs, and more make NoiseCHEK the top choice in noise dosimeters. Demo NoiseCHEK at AIHA Connect Booth 1003. Read More

  • Magid® D-ROC® GPD412 21G Ultra-Thin Polyurethane Palm Coated Work Gloves

    Magid’s 21G line is more than just a 21-gauge glove, it’s a revolutionary knitting technology paired with an advanced selection of innovative fibers to create the ultimate in lightweight cut protection. The latest offering in our 21G line provides ANSI A4 cut resistance with unparalleled dexterity and extreme comfort that no other 21-gauge glove on the market can offer! Read More

  • EMSL Analytical, Inc. - Air Sampling Supplies & Testing Labs

    EMSL Analytical, Inc. operates laboratories throughout the United States and Canada. EMSL is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider specializing in fast laboratory results for Asbestos, Mold, Silica, Lead & Metals, Bacteria, Legionella, USP , Combustion By-Products, VOC’s, Radon, PCB’s, Formaldehyde, METH/Fentanyl, Identification of Dust & Unknowns. Sampling Pumps, Cassettes, Media & Supplies available. Reach us at 1-800.220.3675 Read More

Featured