Enforcement Begins for Final Rule on Occupational Exposure to Beryllium

OSHA confirmed in a memorandum that it will began enforcing certain requirements of the final rule on occupational exposure to beryllium in general industry, construction, and shipyards on May 11, 2018. Those requirements include the permissible exposure limits in the general industry, construction, and shipyard standards; and the exposure assessment, respiratory protection, medical surveillance, and medical removal provisions in the general industry standard. The memorandum provides interim guidance for federal enforcement and will expire when superseded or when the compliance directive becomes effective and available to the field.

Aside from these requirements, other ancillary provisions included in the beryllium standard for general industry will not be enforced until June 25, 2018. However, under the terms of settlement agreements with petitioners who challenged the rule, the Agency plans to issue a proposal to further extend this compliance date for the ancillary provisions to Dec. 12, 2018.

OSHA previously proposed to remove the ancillary requirements from the beryllium standards for the construction and maritime industries. In accordance with that proposal, OSHA will enforce the permissible exposure limits, but will not enforce any other provisions for beryllium exposure in those standards unless it provides notice.

Certain compliance dates outlined in the rule remain unchanged. Enforcement of the general industry requirements for change rooms and showers will begin March 11, 2019; and requirements for engineering controls will begin March 10, 2020.

In addition, the Agency issued a Direct Final Rule (DFR) and Companion Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on May 7, 2018 which clarifies aspects of the beryllium standard for general industry as it applies to processes, operations, or areas where workers may be exposed to materials containing less than 0.1% beryllium by weight. It clarifies the definitions of Beryllium Work Area, emergency, dermal contact, and beryllium contamination. It also clarifies provisions for disposal and recycling, and provisions that the Agency intends to apply only where skin can be exposed to materials containing at least 0.1% beryllium by weight. The direct final rule will become effective on July 6, 2018, unless the Agency receives significant adverse comments by June 6, 2018. The comment periods for the DFR and NPRM run concurrently and OSHA will treat comments received on the NPRM as comments to the DFR.