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Beryllium in construction: OSHA advisory committee to host teleconference on potential rule changes

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Beryllium

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Washington — OSHA’s Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health has scheduled a teleconference/WebEx meeting for Sept. 9 to discuss potential changes to beryllium regulations, according to a notice published in the Aug. 8 Federal Register.

OSHA wants to “revoke the ancillary provisions” in the construction and shipyard industries but maintain the permissible exposure limit of 0.2 micrograms per cubic meter of air and short-term exposure limit of 2 micrograms per cubic meter of air, the agency states in a proposed rule published June 27, 2017. These provisions include exposure monitoring, regulated areas (and competent person in construction), written exposure control plans, protective equipment, medical surveillance, medical removal and worker training.

“OSHA has evidence that exposure in these industries is limited to a few operations and has information suggesting that requiring the ancillary provisions broadly may not improve worker protection and be redundant with overlapping protections in other standards,” the agency states in a press release issued June 23, 2017.

 

Beryllium is a lightweight metal used in industries such as electronics and energy. It can be highly toxic when released into the atmosphere, where workers can inhale it. Exposure can pose serious health risks to workers, including chronic beryllium disease and lung cancer.

Requests to speak or present a written or electronic presentation during the teleconference are due Sept. 4.

ACCSH advises the Department of Labor and OSHA on upcoming standards affecting the construction industry and “the administration of safety and health provisions” in the Construction Safety Act.

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