Proposed rule on beryllium would dramatically lower worker exposure limits
UPDATE: This article was updated to include information from an Aug. 6 press conference.
Washington – OSHA is proposing to dramatically lower its 34-year-old permissible exposure limit for beryllium to one-tenth of its current level, the agency announced Aug. 6.
The current PEL for the metal is 2.0 micrograms of respirable beryllium per cubic meter of air. The agency’s proposal would set the PEL at 0.2 μg/m3. An official notice of proposed rulemaking is expected to be published Aug. 7.
Beryllium exposure has been linked to lung cancer, and workers who inhale beryllium particles are at risk of developing chronic beryllium disease, which is incurable According to OSHA, the new rule would prevent nearly 100 CBD and lung cancer deaths each year.
OSHA estimates that the proposed rule would cost workplaces about $37 million each year, but would result in $575 million in annual benefits for the next 60 years.
The agency is seeking comment on the proposal until Nov. 9.
Read below for details from an Aug. 6 press conference with OSHA administrator David Michaels and stakeholder experts.
#Beryllium rule will reduce suffering, and comes from historic collaboration effort with labor and industry.— Safety+Health (@SafetyHealthMag) August 6, 2015
Michaels says industry and labor support #beryllium rule’s requirements, including medical surveillance, PPE and additional training.— Safety+Health (@SafetyHealthMag) August 6, 2015