OSHA Delays Enforcement of Berylium Standards

The U.S. Occupational
Safety and Health
Administration has delayed
enforcement of its rule
lowering occupational
exposure to beryllium to
May 11.

In January 2017, the agency issued a final rule to reduce the eight-
hour permissible exposure limit to 0.2 micrograms per cubic
meter from the previous level of 2.0 micrograms per cubic
meter.

Above that level, employers must take steps to reduce the
airborne concentration of beryllium. The rule also required
additional protections, including personal protective equipment,
medical exams and other medical surveillance and training. It also
established a short-term exposure limit of 2.0 micrograms per
cubic meter over a 15-minute sampling period.

However, the start of enforcement has been delayed from March
12 to ensure that stakeholders are aware of their obligations and
that OSHA provides consistent instructions to its inspectors, the
agency said in a statement Friday.

OSHA is still considering technical updates to the general industry
standard, but will begin enforcing the new lower eight-hour
permissible exposure limit and short-term 15-minute exposure
limit for the construction and shipyard industries on May 11. In
the interim, if an employer fails to meet either exposure limit, the
agency will inform the employer of the exposure levels and offer
assistance to ensure understanding and compliance, according to
OSHA.