OSHA Poised To Unveil Beryllium Proposed Rule, Likely Limited To General Industry

OSHA reportedly is set to release on Thursday a long-anticipated proposed rule tackling worker exposures to beryllium, a standard that sources tell Inside OSHA Online has been crafted only to apply to general industry and not to the construction and maritime sectors, where the metal has also been named as a workplace health concern.

A knowledgeable source also says the proposed new permissible exposure limit (PEL) on beryllium will probably be .2 micrograms m3/ug — representing a 90 percent reduction from the present level — in line with a longstanding joint union/industry model standard presented to OSHA.

General industry is the focus of the proposed standard but OSHA has also conducted regulatory flexibility analyses for maritime and construction, a source says, which provides the opportunity for comment on expanding the rule.

White House regulatory officials earlier this summer sent the proposed rule back to OSHA with unspecified revisions, giving OSHA the go-ahead to publish it. The agency on Wednesday advised reporters of a media call Thursday to announce a “new initiative intended to protect workers from illnesses, injuries and fatalities,” but without further details.