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OSHA revises beryllium standards for construction, shipyards

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Beryllium

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Washington — OSHA has finalized revisions to its beryllium standards for the construction and shipyard industries. Announced Aug. 28, the final rule includes changes designed to “clarify the standards and simplify or improve compliance.”

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

The rule, published in the Aug. 31 Federal Register, amends the following: definitions, hazard communication, housekeeping, medical surveillance, methods of compliance, personal protective clothing and equipment, recordkeeping, and respiratory protection. OSHA removed the hygiene areas and practices paragraph from the standards because “the necessary protections are provided by existing OSHA standards for sanitation.”

 

These changes – set to take effect Sept. 30 – don’t affect the permissible exposure limit for beryllium of 0.2 micrograms per cubic meter of air and the short-term exposure limit of 2 micrograms per cubic meter of air. OSHA says it expects the rule to affect about 12,000 workers in nearly 2,800 establishments.

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