White House completes review of proposed rule on beryllium


Photo: JacobH/iStockphoto

Washington – The White House on July 7 completed its review of OSHA’s proposed rule on beryllium, clearing the way for the agency to publicly publish the proposal.

OSHA initiated the rulemaking in late 2002 with a Request for Information, noting the current permissible exposure limit “may not be adequate” to protect workers from some illnesses related to exposure to the metal. The RFI came following two petitions – in 1999 and 2001 – from employee groups requesting an emergency temporary standard.

In September of last year, OSHA submitted its proposed rule to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, an arm of the White House’s Office of Management and Budget. OIRA reviews are limited to 90 days, but can be extended. The beryllium rule was under review for more than 300 days.

Beryllium is a naturally occurring, lightweight metal used in many industries, including telecommunications and automotive electronics. NIOSH describes the metal as combustible and explosive, and OSHA has warned that inhaling beryllium dust or fumes may lead to chronic lung disease.

According to the spring regulatory agenda, OSHA originally planned to publish a notice of proposed rulemaking in May. At press time, the NPRM had not yet been released.