June 17, 2021

New Guidance, Resources on Beryllium Available from OSHA

New guidance and resources recently published by OSHA are intended to help employers and others protect workers from occupational exposure to beryllium. A memorandum published on April 21, 2021, outlines interim enforcement guidance for provisions in two final rules for beryllium issued last year by OSHA: one that revised the agency’s beryllium standards for construction and shipyards and a second that revises its beryllium standard for general industry. In May, OSHA published a new guide for small businesses intended to help them comply with the 2020 final rule for beryllium in general industry; two new “QuickCards” for workers—one that describes the beryllium lymphocyte proliferation test, a medical test for diagnosis of chronic beryllium disease (PDF), and another that covers information on beryllium medical surveillance (PDF); and new guidance for beryllium-exposed workers (PDF) that explains certain medical surveillance requirements in OSHA’s standards.

OSHA’s 2020 final rule for beryllium in general industry revised provisions related to methods of compliance, personal protective clothing and equipment, hygiene areas and practices, housekeeping, medical surveillance, hazard communication, and recordkeeping. Changes to OSHA’s beryllium standards for construction and shipyards in 2020 focused on tailoring the standards’ requirements to exposures in these industries and sought to clarify requirements concerning materials that contain only trace amounts of beryllium. The beryllium standard for general industry as modified by the 2020 rule took effect on Sept. 14, 2020, and the compliance date for the revised standards for construction and shipyards was Sept. 30, 2020. In addition to interim enforcement guidance for these standards, OSHA’s April 2021 memorandum provides interim inspection procedures and citation guidance for the agency’s compliance safety and health officers for enforcing the 2020 beryllium standards.

OSHA’s new resources are collected on its beryllium webpage in a box labeled “Highlights.” Additional information on health effects associated with exposure to beryllium, exposure evaluation and controls, and OSHA standards and enforcement is also available.