OSHA Delays Enforcement of Beryllium Standard

Published March 7, 2018

OSHA announced on Friday that it will delay enforcement of its final rule on occupational exposure to beryllium in general, construction, and shipyard industries until May 11, 2018. Enforcement of the rule was previously set to begin on March 12. According to OSHA, this delay will allow time for the agency to ensure that stakeholders are aware of their obligations and provide consistent instructions to its inspectors.

The final rule amending OSHA’s standards for occupational exposure to beryllium and beryllium compounds was published in January 2017. The new rule replaces the decades-old permissible exposure limit for beryllium, reducing the PEL from 2 μg/m3 to 0.2 μg/m3 averaged over eight hours. The rule also establishes a new short-term exposure limit for beryllium of 2 μg/m3 over a 15-minute sampling period, and requires additional protections such as personal protective equipment, medical exams, medical surveillance, and training. The rule comprises three standards, one each for general industry, construction, and shipyards.

If an employer fails to meet the new PEL or STEL before enforcement begins in May, OSHA will inform the employer of the new exposure levels and offer compliance assistance.

Further details are available in an OSHA memorandum to regional administrators.