OSHA finalizes beryllium exposure rule

Kim Slowey
Jan. 9, 2017


Dive Brief:

  • The Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced Friday that it has finalized its new beryllium exposure rule.
  • In this latest regulation, OSHA has further limited contact with beryllium’s cancer-causing dust from 2.0 micrograms per cubic meter of air over an eight-hour period – a standard established in 1949 – to 0.2 micrograms per cubic meter. The new rule also requires protective measures and equipment, as well as changing rooms and showers for at-risk employees.
  • OSHA included the construction and shipyard industries in its final rule after excluding them from its initial proposal in 2015, according to The Hill.


Dive Insight:

Employers have been given three years to put into operation all of the protective aspects of the regulation. They have one year to bring exposure limits within the new boundaries, two years to furnish changing rooms and showers and three years to enact engineering controls. OSHA said compliance will cost employers approximately $74 million a year but that medical and death-related expenses will drop more than $560 million a year. OSHA estimated that the new limits will protect approximately 62,000 workers, preventing 46 new cases of beryllium-related disease and 94 associated deaths each year.

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