In March, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced the upcoming enforcement date for its final rule on occupational exposure to beryllium. May 11th is the date the agency will now begin enforcement actions for general industry, construction and shipyards.
According to OSHA, approximately 62,000 workers are exposed to beryllium in their workplaces, including close to 11,500 construction and shipyard workers who may conduct abrasive blasting operations using slags that contain trace amounts of beryllium. The majority of workers affected by this rule are exposed in general industry operations such as beryllium metal and ceramic production, non-ferrous foundries and fabrication of beryllium alloy products.
Beryllium is a lightweight, but exceptionally strong metal used in the aerospace, electronics, energy, telecommunications, medical and defense industries. Beryllium-copper alloys are widely used because of their electrical and thermal conductivity, hardness and corrosion resistance. Beryllium oxide is used to make ceramics for electronics and other electrical equipment because of its heat conductivity, high strength and hardness, and good electrical insulation.
“Enforcement of the new final rule is good news for thousands of workers,” said Zahid Iqbal, MPH, CIH and Technical Director at Clark Seif Clark (CSC). “This new rule reduces the permissible exposure limit (PEL) for beryllium to 0.2 micrograms per cubic meter of air, averaged over 8-hours and also establishes a new short-term exposure limit for beryllium, 2 micrograms per cubic meter of air for 15 minutes. Inhalation exposure has been linked to chronic beryllium disease (CBD) and lung cancer. To help companies and institutions impacted by this new final rule prepare for its implementation and upcoming enforcement later this month, CSC’s industrial hygiene professionals are available to enact and assist with compliance strategies that include air testing, monitoring, engineering controls, record keeping, personal protective equipment fit testing and employee hazard communication training.”
CSC also sponsored an educational video about the new beryllium rule after it was first published last year that can be seen at: https://youtu.be/xGdLaCCW4oc
About Clark Seif Clark
CSC was established in 1989 to help clients in both public and private sectors address indoor air quality, occupational, environmental, and health and safety (EH&S) issues. CSC is a leading provider of these services with multiple offices along the western seaboard and southwest. The company believes in science-based protocols and has a strong background in engineering, making them the preferred environmental consultants to industrial clients, healthcare facilities, architects, schools, builders, contractors, developers and real estate professionals.