Search form

OSHA Sets Hearing Date on Proposal to Drastically Limit Beryllium Exposure

  • January 21, 2016

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration will hold an informal hearing to gather testimony on a comprehensive agency proposal on worker exposure to beryllium. The proposal would cut the permissible exposure limit (PEL) tenfold and impose employer mandates. The current limit, 2.0 µg/m3, has been in place since 1971and the new limit would cut the PEL to 0.2 micrograms per cubic meter of air (µg/m3).

Other provisions in the proposal include mandatory exposure monitoring, limiting access to areas with exposure above the PEL, exposure-limiting control measures, medical examinations and medical removal, worker training, and recordkeeping.

As proposed, the rule applies to about 35,000 general industry workers, the majority of whom work in foundries and smelting operations, machining, beryllium oxide ceramics and composites manufacturing, and dental lab work. Not covered are general industry workers in coal-burning plants and aluminum production, as well as abrasive blasters and support personnel in the construction and shipyard industries, according to OSHA. The agency seeks comment on whether to cover these workers under the final rule.

OSHA states that workers who inhale excessive beryllium particles are at risk of developing chronic beryllium disease (CBD), a debilitating, incurable, and sometimes fatal illness, according to the agency. Prior to developing CBD, workers must become sensitized to the metal. Sensitization occurs when the body’s immune system reacts to beryllium exposure through inhalation or skin contact. Airborne beryllium exposure also puts workers at risk for developing lung cancer, OSHA said.

The agency has predicted the rule, when fully implemented, would prevent nearly 100 fatalities annually from CBD and lung cancer. OSHA estimated that there would be an average of $575.8 million in annual benefits over the next 60 years, a figure offset by an annual cost of $37.6 million, according to OSHA estimates.

In a Federal Register notice released on December 30, OSHA said the hearing would be held at its headquarters in Washington, D.C. on February 29, 2016, and, if necessary, would extend into the next day and beyond. Individuals who intend to present testimony or question witnesses must submit the full text of their testimony and all documentary evidence by January 29. Our team of safety and health law professionals stands ready to assist any company that wishes to present testimony at the upcoming hearing.

©2016 Jackson Lewis P.C. This material is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice nor does it create a client-lawyer relationship between Jackson Lewis and any recipient. Recipients should consult with counsel before taking any actions based on the information contained within this material. This material may be considered attorney advertising in some jurisdictions. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

Reproduction of this material in whole or in part is prohibited without the express prior written consent of Jackson Lewis P.C., a law firm that built its reputation on providing workplace law representation to management. Founded in 1958, the firm has grown to more than 900 attorneys in major cities nationwide serving clients across a wide range of practices and industries including government relations, healthcare and sports law. More information about Jackson Lewis can be found at www.jacksonlewis.com.

See AllRelated Articles You May Like

August 21, 2019

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Agency Proposes Changes to Hours of Service Rules for Truck Drivers

August 21, 2019

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) on changes to the hours of service (HOS) rules. Background First adopted in 1937, FMCSA’s HOS rules set the permitted operating hours of commercial drivers. FMCSA mandated use of... Read More

June 25, 2019

The Aging Construction Industry: Keeping Skilled Employees Longer

June 25, 2019

Workers in the construction industry tend to be older than those in other industries, according to the National Association of Home Builders. The median age of construction workers is 42 years old, a year older than the median in the national labor force. Further, the median age of workers in the industry is 44-45 years old in several U.... Read More

January 23, 2019

U.S. House Committee to Focus on Workforce Protections

January 23, 2019

Signaling a renewed emphasis on workforce protections at the opening of the 116th Congress, the U.S. House of Representatives has changed the name of its committee with jurisdiction over labor matters back to the Committee on Education and Labor. It was called the Committee on Education and the Workforce when Republicans held the... Read More

Related Practices