October 3, 2019

OSHA Beryllium Rule Maintains “Ancillary” Protections for Construction and Shipyard Industries

A final rule published in the Federal Register on September 30 maintains “ancillary” protections for workers in OSHA’s beryllium standard for the construction and shipyard industries. The rule does not affect requirements to comply with OSHA’s permissible exposure limit of 0.2 µg/m3 and short-term exposure limit of 2 µg/m3 for beryllium.

OSHA had previously proposed removing the ancillary provisions—which include requirements for exposure assessment, control methods, respiratory protection, personal protective equipment, housekeeping, medical surveillance, hazard communication, and recordkeeping—because, according to the agency, they overlapped with requirements in other OSHA standards and were therefore unnecessary.

The final rule backs off that assessment. “OSHA finds that other OSHA standards do not duplicate the requirements of the ancillary provisions in the beryllium standards for construction and shipyards in their entirety,” the rule reads. “Thus revoking all of the ancillary provisions and leaving only the PEL and STEL 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.”

Employers in the construction and shipyard industries have until Sept. 30, 2020, to comply with the ancillary provisions.

An OSHA press release indicates that the agency plans to propose a new rule that would “amend the beryllium standards for construction and shipyards by more appropriately tailoring the requirements of the standards to the exposures in these industries.”

For more information, read the final rule in the Federal Register.