OSHA confirms delay to beryllium exposure rule

ConDig (23-Mar-17).  The introduction of a new regulation aimed at protecting workers from exposure to beryllium has been pushed back for a second time.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) confirmed that the rule, which was set to take effect on March 21, is now not expected to be implemented until May 20 as the department extends its review period.

But OSHA said the compliance dates for the final beryllium rule have not changed.

The measure was originally slated to roll out on January 9 but was delayed until March 21. Earlier this month, OSHA sought comments on a further extension to May 20.

Under the proposed measure outlined in January, OSHA said it aimed to cut the allowable exposure to beryllium dust to 0.2 micrograms per cubic meter during any eight-hour period from 2.0 micrograms per cubic meter.

It also requires employees to provide protective equipment, medical exams, medical surveillance and training. The rule also establishes a short-term exposure limit of 2.0 micrograms per cubic meter over a 15-minute sampling period.

Once in effect, OSHA said the rule would prevent 46 new cases of beryllium-related disease and 94 associated deaths each year.

The construction industry was not included in the original beryllium revision but was added to the final rule.