DOE Proposes New Beryllium Action Level, Medical Surveillance Requirements

Published June 15, 2016

​Proposed amendments to the Department of Energy’s (DOE) chronic beryllium disease (CBD) prevention program regulation would reduce the number of workers who are currently exposed to beryllium, minimize the potential for and levels of worker exposure, and establish medical surveillance to monitor the health of beryllium-exposed workers. Applicable to DOE employees who are, were, or potentially were exposed to beryllium at DOE sites, the proposed amendments would also establish continual monitoring of the program’s effectiveness in preventing CBD and require data collection to improve understanding of the causes of the disease. DOE also proposes lowering the action level that triggers controls and protective measures when workers are exposed at or above it from 0.2 µg/m3 to 0.05 µg/m3.

Other proposed changes to the current regulation include allowing the use of portable laboratories, which DOE says would reduce the turnaround time for beryllium sample analysis. The department’s proposal would also revise the training requirements for beryllium-associated workers.

DOE expects that its proposed amendments will increase medical surveillance for workers at risk, reduce medical costs, reduce mortality, and reduce confusion and dispute over legal liability for DOE and its contractors.

DOE is accepting public comments on the rule until Sept. 6, 2016. For more information, see the Federal Register notice.