OSHA Issues Proposed Rule to Further Protect Workers from Beryllium Exposure
The American Board of Industrial Hygiene® (ABIH®) reminds workers and industry of the need to address workplace exposure risks to beryllium and other respirable hazards.
The proposed OSHA rule would save lives and prevent a number of additional cases of chronic beryllium disease from occurring if it is adopted.
In 2015, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced a proposal to amend its existing exposure limits for occupational exposure to beryllium and beryllium compounds in general industry. It would promulgate a substance-specific standard for general industry regulating occupational exposure with a new permissible exposure limit (PEL). The proposed rule would also provide for ancillary provisions for employee protection with methods such as controlling exposure, respiratory protection, medical surveillance, hazard communication and recordkeeping.
This past June, the Department of Energy (DOE) also proposed amending its current chronic beryllium disease (CBD) prevention program regulation. The proposed amendments would improve and strengthen current provisions and continue to be applicable to DOE Federal and contractor employees with actual or potential exposure to beryllium at DOE sites.
Beryllium is a chemical element that is extremely lightweight and hard, is a good conductor of electricity and heat, and is nonmagnetic. These properties make beryllium suitable for many industrial uses. Worker exposure to beryllium can happen when a person breathes in beryllium mists, dusts or fumes, which can cause damage to the lungs. Beryllium has been identified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer and the National Toxicology Program as a human carcinogen.
“The current PEL for beryllium in general industry, construction and shipyards is over 40 years old,” said Susan Ripple, CIH® and Chair of ABIH®. “The proposed OSHA rule would save lives and prevent a number of additional cases of chronic beryllium disease from occurring if it is adopted.”
Working to protect people from these types of exposure risks are Certified Industrial Hygienists. These professionals are uniquely qualified to address respirable hazards in the workplace through their extensive training and experience in air sampling, engineering controls, work environments, industrial processes, risk analysis and other core competencies of the CIH® program.
To learn more about the American Board of Industrial Hygiene®, Certified Industrial Hygienist® credential or to locate a CIH® to perform industrial hygiene services, please visit www.ABIH.org, email abih@ABIH.org or call (517) 321-2638.
About the American Board of Industrial Hygiene ®
Since 1960, ABIH®, a not-for-profit corporation, has been the world’s largest organization for certifying professionals in the practice of industrial hygiene. ABIH® is the premier credentialing body responsible for ensuring high-quality certification including education, experience, examination, certification maintenance and ethics enforcement. Currently, more than 6800 people in 32 countries are certified to use the CIH® designation.
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