Enforcement of Beryllium PEL Begins; Other Provisions Delayed

Published May 16, 2018
OSHA has begun enforcing its new beryllium permissible exposure limit of 0.2 μg/m3 calculated as an 8-hour time-weighted average, according to a May 9 memorandum from OSHA’s Directorate of Enforcement. The new PEL, promulgated in three separate standards comprising the agency’s January 2017 final rule on beryllium, lowered the legal limit for occupational beryllium exposure by an order of magnitude. As of May 11, OSHA is enforcing the new PEL across general industry, shipyards, and construction sites.

The agency is also enforcing provisions of its beryllium standard for general industry that cover exposure assessment, respiratory protection, medical surveillance, and medical removal. Enforcement of all other provisions of the general industry standard is being delayed until June 25, 2018.

Similarly, the agency is not currently enforcing any provisions of the beryllium standards for construction and shipyards except for the new PEL. According to the OSHA memorandum, the agency will propose to extend until December 12, 2018, the compliance dates of certain provisions of the beryllium standards.

Last week, OSHA issued a direct final rule to clarify provisions of the general industry standard. The provisions addressed in the rule concern processes, operations, or areas where workers may be exposed to materials containing less than 0.1 percent beryllium by weight; the definitions of the terms “beryllium work area,” “emergency,” “dermal contact,” and “beryllium contamination”; disposal and recycling; and dermal exposure to materials that contain at least 0.1 percent beryllium by weight. The direct final rule will become effective on July 4, 2018, unless the agency receives “significant adverse comments” by June 4.