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  • Writer's pictureAlex Tan, CHMM

"Be"-ware of the New Standard

On July 6, 2018, the direct final rule (DFR) for Beryllium will become effective. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issues the DFR to clarify definitions for Beryllium Work Area, emergency, dermal contact, beryllium contamination, disposal, and recycling, which only apply to the general industry where processes, operations, or areas may be exposed to less than 0.1% by weight.

Beryllium can be found in general industry productions, beryllium oxide ceramics, and precision turned products. In constructions, trace amount of beryllium can be found in abrasive blasting operations. The chronic health effects include Chronic Beryllium Disease (CBD) and lung cancer.

OSHA estimates 50,500 workers in general industry and 11,500 in construction and shipyards are exposed to beryllium, the new stand will save 90 workers' lives and prevent 46 new cases. These new standards replaced the old ones from 40 years ago:

  • Reduce Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) of beryllium to 0.2 micrograms per cubic meter of air in 8-hour average and Short-Term Exposure Limit (STEL) to 2.0 micrograms per cubic meter over a 15-minute sampling period.

  • Limit access and dermal contacts in high-exposure areas. Use respiratory protection when necessary.

  • Assess, develop and implement the beryllium exposure control plan.

  • Employers must offer medical exams to exposed workers.

Employers have until March 11, 2019, to provide change rooms and showers; March 11, 2020, to implement engineer controls.



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