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OSHA delays enforcement of beryllium standard

OSHA delays enforcement of beryllium standard

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration has delayed enforcement of its rule lowering occupational exposure to beryllium to May 11.

In January 2017, the agency issued a final rule to reduce the eight-hour permissible exposure limit to 0.2 micrograms per cubic meter from the previous level of 2.0 micrograms per cubic meter. Above that level, employers must take steps to reduce the airborne concentration of beryllium. The rule also required additional protections, including personal protective equipment, medical exams and other medical surveillance and training. It also established a short-term exposure limit of 2.0 micrograms per cubic meter over a 15-minute sampling period.

However, the start of enforcement has been delayed from March 12 to ensure that stakeholders are aware of their obligations and that OSHA provides consistent instructions to its inspectors, the agency said in a statement Friday.

OSHA is still considering technical updates to the general industry standard, but will begin enforcing the new lower eight-hour permissible exposure limit and short-term 15-minute exposure limit for the construction and shipyard industries on May 11. In the interim, if an employer fails to meet either exposure limit, the agency will inform the employer of the exposure levels and offer assistance to ensure understanding and compliance, according to OSHA.


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