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OSHA's beryllium rule unlikely to be reversed

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Despite a delayed enforcement date, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s beryllium rule is not seen as vulnerable to reversal by the Trump administration because industry and government worked together to craft the rule.

The U.S. Department of Labor in March delayed the beryllium rule to May 20 to allow OSHA an opportunity for further review, but the proposed extension will not affect the compliance dates, Labor says.

“My general impression is the beryllium standard is less controversial,” said Howard Mavity, an Atlanta-based partner at law firm Fisher & Phillips L.L.P. “Although there were industry groups that attacked it, there also was decent cooperation between the main manufacturer of beryllium and steelworkers. Do employers want it? Probably not, but it has not been as potentially disruptive to business as silica. Silica is affecting a huge swath of employers, and the beryllium standard isn’t.”

The beryllium rule still is within the review period for the Congressional Review Act, and Congress and President Donald Trump have already shown a willingness to use that tool, including on OSHA’s controversial Volks rule, which aimed to clarify that employers have a continuing obligation to make and maintain an accurate record of each recordable injury and illness for five years.

“I don’t see (the beryllium rule) going away like the Volks rule,” said Matthew Linton, Denver-based of counsel with law firm Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart P.C.