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OSHA Proposal Would Modify the Beryllium Standard for Construction and Shipyards

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OSHA has proposed modifications to the January 2017 Final Rule creating requirements for occupational exposure to beryllium. The proposal would modify requirements for the construction and shipyard sectors, but would not affect the new requirements for general industry. OSHA will not enforce the January 2017 Final Rule for shipyard and construction employers without further notice while the new rulemaking is underway.

The proposal maintains the exposure limit of 0.2 µg/m³ and short-term exposure limit of 2.0 µg/m³ set out in the January 2017 Final Rule, but seeks to modify the application of the Final Rule’s ancillary provisions such as housekeeping, personal protective equipment, and medical surveillance. Because OSHA has evidence that beryllium exposure in the construction and shipyard sectors is limited to abrasive blasting in construction and shipyards and welding in shipyards, OSHA is seeking input from stakeholders as to whether the ancillary provisions are needed since there are other protective standards, such as those for ventilation (29 CFR 1926.57) and mechanical paint removers (29 CFR 1915.34), that apply. OSHA is also seeking input on its proposed extension of the compliance date for the January 2017 Final Rule (currently May 20, 2017) by a year for the construction and shipyard standards in order to give affected employers additional time to comply.

For information on submitting comments on the proposed rule and requesting public hearings, see the OSHA website. For information on existing and proposed beryllium standards, purchase a copy of 29 CFR 1910