OSHA Issues Proposal to Protect Workers From Beryllium Exposure

OSHA Issues Proposal to Protect Workers From Beryllium Exposure

OSHA Issues Proposal to Protect Workers From Beryllium Exposure

In late August 2015, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a long-awaited proposal to protect workers from beryllium exposure.

Per the OSHA website…

On August 7, OSHA issued a proposed rule to…”dramatically lower workplace exposure to beryllium, a widely used material that can cause devastating lung diseases.

The long-sought proposal would reduce allowable exposure levels by 90 percent and add other protections. The proposal gained renewed momentum after the nation’s primary beryllium product manufacturer, Materion, and the United Steelworkers, the union representing many of those who work with beryllium, approached OSHA in 2012 to suggest a stronger standard.

For Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health, the development had special significance: In 1999, as assistant secretary of energy for environmental safety and health, he issued the final regulation lowering allowable worker exposure to beryllium in nuclear weapons facilities.

OSHA estimates that every year the rule would prevent almost 100 deaths and 50 serious illnesses among the approximately 35,000 workers exposed to beryllium in occupations such as foundry and smelting operations, machining, and dental lab work.”

Read the full transcript at the OSHA website here.

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