OSHA Proposes Revisions to General Industry Beryllium Standard

The proposed changes would clarify the standard and simplify or improve standard compliance.

OSHA issued a proposed rule Dec. 10 to revise the beryllium standard for general industry. The proposed changes would clarify the standard and simplify or improve standard compliance, according to the agency.

The proposed rule would revise selected paragraphs of the standard, including Definitions, Methods of Compliance, and Personal Protective Clothing and Equipment. Appendix A, which currently lists suggested controls, would be removed and replaced with a new Appendix A, Operations for Establishing Beryllium Work Areas.

Comments, hearing requests, and other information must be submitted online at https//:www.regulations.gov or by mail or fax. Submission details can be found in the Federal Register notice, and comments must be submitted by Feb. 9, 2019.

The enforcement date for the standards affected by this proposed rule revision is Dec. 12, 2018. While the proposed changes are pending, compliance with the standard as modified by this proposal will be accepted as compliance.

Workers in industries where beryllium is present may be exposed to beryllium by inhaling it or contacting it on surfaces. Inhaling or contacting beryllium can cause an immune response that results in an individual becoming sensitized to beryllium. Individuals with beryllium sensitization are at risk for developing a debilitating lung disease called chronic beryllium disease if they inhale airborne beryllium after becoming sensitized. Beryllium-exposed workers may also develop other adverse health effects, such as acute beryllium disease and lung cancer, according to OSHA.

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