Regulatory Developments

Revisions to Beryllium Rule Proposed by OSHA

OSHA has announced a proposed rule to revise the beryllium standard for general industry. According to the agency, the proposed changes are designed to clarify the standard and to simplify or improve compliance with the standard. The proposal is scheduled to be published in the Federal Register on December 11.

Beryllium

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The proposed rule would amend several sections of the beryllium standard, including “Definitions,” “Methods of Compliance,” “Personal Protective Clothing and Equipment,” “Hygiene Areas and Practices,” “Housekeeping,” “Medical Surveillance,” “Hazard Communication,” and “Recordkeeping.” It would also remove the existing Appendix A, which lists suggested controls, and replace it with a new Appendix A, Operations for Establishing Beryllium Work Areas.

Comments, hearing requests, and other information must be submitted by February 9, 2019. They may be submitted electronically at http://www.regulations.gov or by facsimile or mail. Submission details can be found in the Federal Register notice.

The enforcement date for the provisions affected by the proposal is December 12, 2018. While the rulemaking is pending, OSHA will consider employers that comply with the beryllium standard as modified by the proposal to be in compliance.

The proposal satisfies a settlement agreement with stakeholders that had concerns about some of the provisions in the 2017 beryllium final rule. The proposed rule would affect approximately 50,500 workers employed in general industry and is estimated to yield minor net cost savings to employers. OSHA expects the proposed changes to provide employees with equivalent safety and health protections to the current standard.