Review underway on OSHA beryllium rule

Washington – A proposed OSHA rule that would update the permissible exposure limit for beryllium is under review by the Office of Management and Budget.

OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs received the rule Sept. 4. Reviews – which are required in many cases before OSHA can publish a rule – are limited to 90 days but can be extended.

Details of the proposal, which has been in the works for more than a decade, have not yet been made public.

In a 2002 Request for Information, OSHA stated that its current beryllium PEL of 2 µg/m3 as a time-weighted average “may not be adequate” to protect workers from the hazardous metal, and noted that the Department of Energy in 1999 set an action level to trigger control measures for its employees at 0.2 µg/m3.

Exposure to beryllium can lead to a variety of diseases, including chronic and acute beryllium disease, lung cancer, and diseases of the skin.