The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) proposes to amend its 40-year-old existing exposure limit for occupational exposure to beryllium and beryllium compounds in general industry. The proposed rule would reduce the eight-hour time-weighted average (TWA) permissible exposure limit (PEL) from 2 micrograms per cubic meter of air to 0.2 micrograms per cubic meter of air. Additionally, OSHA is proposing other requirements such as personal protective equipment, methods for controlling exposure, record keeping, etc.
“This proposal will save lives and help thousands of workers stay healthy and be more productive on the job,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. “We’re pleased that industry has been such a strong voice in advocating for a more rigorous standard. The proposal is strong because of unprecedented partnership between manufacturers and the United Steelworkers.”
OSHA estimates that the rule could prevent almost 100 deaths and 50 serious illnesses each year. Workers who inhale beryllium particles can develop a debilitating, incurable illness known as chronic beryllium disease, and are also at increased risk of lung cancer. Dangers arise when beryllium-containing materials are processed in a way that releases airborne beryllium dust, fume, mist or other forms.
For more information, https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=NEWS_RELEASES&p_id=28428
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