Beryllium Federal agencies Construction

Proposed beryllium rule should exclude construction, manufacturer says

Washington – The construction industry should be exempt from OSHA’s forthcoming proposed rule on beryllium, according to a manufacturer of industrial abrasives.

During a Sept. 30 meeting with representatives from OSHA and the Office of Management and Budget, Camp Hill, PA-based Harsco claimed that only trace amounts of beryllium are present in construction, and current OSHA respiratory protection standards are sufficient to protect workers.

A service and product provider to the steel, railway and energy industries, Harsco manufactures coal slag abrasives, which are considered an alternative to silica materials. Silica dust is known to cause a variety of respiratory diseases, including cancer and silicosis. If OSHA’s beryllium rule includes “unnecessary controls” on coal slag abrasives, Harsco said, increased use of silica sand blasting abrasives could result.

Exposure to beryllium can lead to Chronic Beryllium Disease and an increased risk of cancer, according to OSHA. A notice of proposed rulemaking on beryllium was expected this past July, but OMB first must finish its review, which began Sept. 4. Reviews are limited to 90 days, but can be extended.