Final Beryllium Standard Issued by OSHA

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OSHA ISSUES PROPOSED BERYLLIUM STANDARD

Materion is committed to keeping our customers, vendors and demand generators informed of new information and issues involving beryllium-related health and safety.  In keeping with this commitment, we would like to announce that on January 9, 2017, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published the final Beryllium Standard in the Federal Register.  A copy of the final Beryllium Standard, along with the Frequently Asked Questions that provide clarification to specific elements in the final standard, is available at (https://www.osha.gov/berylliumrule/index.html).  Materion believes having a Beryllium Standard should provide a measure of certainty and predictability about the safe use and handling of beryllium which will help create jobs, ensure the continuity of future beryllium supplies and improve the safety of all those who work with beryllium-containing materials.

In its initial review of the final Beryllium Standard, Materion finds that it is generally consistent with the Model Beryllium Standard jointly submitted to OSHA by the United Steelworkers (USW) and Materion in February 2012, which was based on Materion’s Beryllium Worker Protection Model which studies have shown to reduce potential beryllium-related health risks.  Most companies processing beryllium and beryllium-containing materials that have adopted and applied the Materion Beryllium Worker Protection Model should not be required to make major changes in the practices and procedures currently utilized.  The final Beryllium Standard includes the Permissible Exposure Limits (PEL) of 0.2 micrograms per cubic meter (0.2 µg/m3) as an 8-hour Time Weighted Average (TWA) and 2.0 µg/m3 as a Short-Term Exposure Limit (STEL) determined over a 15-minute sampling period which are the occupational exposure limits that we have been recommending for more than a decade.  In addition, the Beryllium Standard also contains ancillary provisions and requirements similar to other substance-specific OSHA standards which may require additional compliance activities.  As typically occurs with a change in Administration, the effective date of recently issued regulations such as the final Beryllium Standard are generally extended by at least 60 days by Executive Order.  Therefore, compliance to the majority of the elements of the final Beryllium Standard will be required one year after the effective date set by the Executive Order.

As we announced in August 2015 when OSHA released the proposed Beryllium Standard, Materion will provide our customers with support in the form of a practical tool to help make compliance with the new Beryllium Standard simple and straightforward.  This online tool, named the Guide to Compliance, is under final development and will be available for use in the next few months.   Once it is issued, we will contact announce the location and instructions on the use of the Guide to Compliance.

In the meantime, important information on this matter, as well as other beryllium health and safety information such as SDSs, Safety Facts, FAQs and the Beryllium Consultant Network, is available on the Materion.com website.  Additionally, information on the Beryllium Worker Protection Model and specific processes can be found in the Interactive Guide to Working Safely with Beryllium and Beryllium-containing Materials at www.berylliumsafety.com.

Please note that Materion is carefully examining the final standard and we will take all actions necessary to assure that the final Beryllium Standard both protects workers and maintains the economic viability of the beryllium-processing industry.  We will provide additional information on these efforts should they have the potential to significantly impact the processing of beryllium.

We will provide additional information to customers, vendors, demand generators and other stakeholders as appropriate to assure that they have the most up-to-date information on this important matter. We welcome and encourage you to contact us with your questions or comments.  Should you wish to reach us, please call our Information Hotline at 1-800-862-4118.