Beryllium Manufacturing

Final rule on beryllium: OSHA pushes effective date to May 20


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Washington – A final rule intended to protect workers from exposure to beryllium has been delayed a second time.

The rule originally was scheduled to go into effect on Jan. 9 but was delayed until March 21. OSHA then pushed back the effective date again to May 20, OSHA announced March 21. However, the compliance dates for the final rule have not changed.

“The additional time will allow OSHA the opportunity for further review of the new Beryllium Final Rule, including review of concerns that commenters raised, and is consistent with the memorandum of Jan. 20, 2017, from the Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff, entitled ‘Regulatory Freeze Pending Review,’” states a notice published in the March 21 Federal Register.

OSHA received 25 comments about its proposal to delay the beryllium rule until May 20. Responses were mixed: Among the commenters was Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-AL), chairman of the House Workforce Protections Subcommittee, who said a delay was necessary to allow time for scrutinizing the rule’s coverage of abrasive blasting operations under the construction and shipyard standards.

Beryllium can pose serious health risks to workers who are exposed, according to OSHA. Exposure can lead to chronic beryllium disease and lung cancer. The agency published a final rule Jan. 9 that called for lower permissible exposure limits and requirements for exposure assessments, respiratory protection and other features.

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