OSHA Issues Proposal to Change Upcoming Beryllium Rule for General Industry Employers

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OSHA has published a proposal to change its beryllium exposure standard for the general industry. Although the permissible exposure limit (PEL) and short-term exposure limit (STEL) are unchanged, the proposal includes a number of changes to help employers comply with the standard while still protecting employees from beryllium hazards.

Here are some of the notable changes to the standard:

  • Definitions. OSHA clarified the definition of a beryllium work area so employers don’t have to comply with the standard throughout the entire facility. Instead, these work areas must contain at least 0.1 percent beryllium by weight after processing the material during an operation listed in a new appendix.

  • Appendix A. The proposed changes would replace the appendix and include suggested workplace controls with a new list of operations to define beryllium work areas.

  • Written Exposure Control Plans. The text on creating a control plan has been reworded to make it clear that minimizing the cross-contamination of beryllium is enough to comply with the rule.

  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). OSHA is clarifying that employees who work with beryllium multiple times a day don’t need to remove PPE that’s contaminated with the substance after each individual task.

  • Medical Surveillance. The proposal would extend the 30-day window for

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