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OSHA decides not to revoke all ancillary provisions in beryllium standards

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Washington — OSHA will not eliminate all the ancillary provisions in its beryllium standards for shipyards and construction, but will propose other changes in the future, according to a final rule published in the Sept. 30 Federal Register.

In June 2017, OSHA published a proposed rule that sought to eliminate ancillary provisions covering medical surveillance, written exposure control plans and personal protective equipment, among other subjects, stating it had “information suggesting” those requirements were covered under other OSHA rules.

Instead, OSHA found that the provisions were not completely covered by other regulations and “thus revoking all of the ancillary provisions … would be inconsistent with OSHA’s statutory mandate to protect workers from the demonstrated significant risks of material impairment of health resulting from exposure to beryllium and beryllium compounds.”

The agency is delaying the compliance dates for its ancillary provisions until Sept. 30, 2020 – one year after the publication of the final rule in the Federal Register. The agency still is enforcing the permissible exposure limit of 0.2 micrograms per cubic meter of air and the short-term exposure limit of 2 micrograms per cubic meter of air.

 

The delay will give OSHA time to develop a “new proposal to revise or remove specific provisions,” the agency states in a Sept. 27 press release.

“In a forthcoming rulemaking, OSHA will publish a proposal to amend the beryllium standards for construction and shipyards by more appropriately tailoring the requirements of the standards to the exposures in these industries,” the release adds.

Beryllium is a lightweight metal used in the electronics and defense industries, among others. Exposure can cause serious health risks, including lung cancer and chronic beryllium disease, also known as berylliosis.

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