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OSHA’s Proposed Beryllium Standard Clears Hurdle at OMB

Posted on 7/24/2015 by Roger Marks

Update: OSHA's proposal to lower the occupational exposure limit for beryllium appeared in the Federal Register on August 7, 2015. 

According to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), the US Office of Management and Budget (OMB) recently completed its review of a proposed OSHA standard to regulate occupational exposure to beryllium. An official Notice of Proposed Rulemaking should be expected in the Federal Register shortly.

What Is Beryllium and Why Is It Hazardous?

Beryllium (Be) is a periodic element that’s rare in nature. Its light weight and stiffness make it useful in a variety of industries, namely aerospace, nuclear energy, and manufacturing. It’s also frequently found in aluminum, copper, iron, and nickel alloys.

Beryllium is a known carcinogen and can cause chronic and fatal lung diseases, like chronic beryllium disease (berylliosis), pneumonitis, and others. While the current Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) for beryllium is the lowest for any metal, industry groups believe the limit is still too high and recommend lowering it by up to 90%.

OSHA Beryllium exposure rule
 
History of the OSHA Beryllium Rule

The rule has been a long time in the making—as early as 1999, the United Steel Workers petitioned OSHA to issue a standard that protects workers exposed to beryllium in the workplace. In 2002, OSHA requested information from industry and concerned parties about the risks, current exposure control methods, employee training, and more.

A Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA) review was completed in 2008, and scientific and economic peer reviews were subsequently completed.

The proposal was sent along to OMB in September 2014, and review was completed on July 7, 2015. The proposed rule can be expected soon. Subscribe to Lion News to make sure you’re up-to-date on the latest OSHA rulemaking activity.

Tags: new rules, osha

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