OSHA DELAYS COMPLIANCE DATE FOR BERYLLIUM STANDARD
On March 2, 2018, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced a 60 day compliance delay of the OSHA Beryllium Standard for General Industry (29 CFR 1910.1024). This delay is needed to allow sufficient time to complete negotiations and reach a settlement of the legal petitions filed by Materion Brush Inc. (“Materion”) and other industry stakeholders. By May 11, 2018, OSHA expects to formally propose changes to the Beryllium Standard including adjusting compliance schedules for some requirements of the standard beyond the 60 day delay. At a minimum, on May 11, 2018, Materion fully expects the Permissible Exposure Limits (PEL) will become enforceable, along with the requirements to have completed exposure assessments and to provide a respiratory protection program where appropriate for workers.
To review, OSHA published the final Beryllium Standard for General Industry in the Federal Register on January 9, 2017 which identified the initial compliance date as March 12, 2018. At that time, Materion carefully examined the final standard and initiated actions necessary to assure that the final Beryllium Standard both protects workers and maintains the economic viability of the beryllium-processing industry. In its review of the final Beryllium Standard, Materion found that OSHA made significant changes to a number of the standard's ancillary provisions without a sound scientific basis or a reassessment of the technical and economic feasibility resulting from such changes. These fundamental and dramatic differences from the proposed general industry standard issued by OSHA in 2015 rendered portions of the final standard unworkable without presenting any significant additional protection to workers.
In response to the changes, several industry groups and companies representing maritime, construction and general industries, including Materion, filed legal petitions for review in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. In addition, these groups engaged in negotiations with OSHA to revise the Beryllium Standard for General Industry to align more closely with the agency’s 2015 proposed Beryllium Standard. OSHA has been working with industry to define positive changes to the standards and to provide clear interpretive guidance to help protect workers sooner rather than later. Materion will keep those involved with processing beryllium and beryllium-containing materials informed of the progress in having OSHA make the necessary changes to the Beryllium Standard for General Industry.
Since issuance of the final Beryllium Standard, Materion has recommended that those companies processing beryllium and beryllium-containing materials should proceed with evaluating their workplace exposures to airborne beryllium and implement actions to reduce workers exposure to beryllium described in the final standard. The current text for the Beryllium Standard for General Industry is available at https://www.osha.gov/berylliumrule/GeneralIndustry_Beryllium_Regulatory_text.pdf.
To provide support to those handling and processing beryllium and beryllium-containing materials and covered by the Beryllium Standard, Materion is preparing a practical, web-based tool to help make compliance with the new Beryllium Standard simple and straightforward. This online tool, named the Guide for Compliance, is under final development and will be available following OSHA’s issuance of proposed changes to the final standard. Once issued, Materion will announce the website location and instructions on the use of the Guide for Compliance.
As a reminder, the final Beryllium Standard includes 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 Materion has been recommending for more than a decade. The standard also includes ancillary requirements prompted at an Action Level (AL) of 0.1 µg/m3.
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 website. Additionally, information on the Materion 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.
If you have any questions or comments, please call the Materion Information Hotline at 1-800-862-4118.