On Oct. 8, OSHA published a proposed rule, which maintains the lower eight-hour permissible exposure limit (PEL) and short-term (15-minute) exposure limit (STEL), and makes minor changes to the ancillary provisions of the beryllium standard that are tailored for the construction industry. OSHA’s proposed changes to the ancillary provisions include the written exposure control requirements, engineering and work practice controls, respiratory protection, personal protective equipment, hygiene areas and practices, housekeeping and medical surveillance.
On Nov. 7, ABC, as part of the Construction Industry Safety Coalition, submitted comments to OSHA on the proposed rule. In the comment letter, “CISC strongly objected to the extremely short comment period set by the agency to submit comments. The agency has given interested stakeholders only 30 days to provide comments to the agency on its now third regulatory approach to beryllium in construction. Thirty days does not provide the construction industry enough time to gather information and feedback on the new proposal and submit thoughtful comments to the agency on its approach.”
Further, the coalition argued that OSHA failed to meaningfully consult with construction stakeholders regarding an appropriate approach to regulating beryllium in construction and demonstrate a significant risk of material impairment in construction, or that the proposed rule will substantially reduce that risk. Additionally, CICS stated that OSHA's feasibility analysis is incomplete and fails to identify affected operations and that the proposed ancillary provisions highlight the agency's inadequate analysis.
On Jan. 9, 2017, OSHA issued the Occupational Exposure to Beryllium final rule, which points directly to the construction task of abrasive blasting operations that use slags containing trace amounts of beryllium. The construction industry was included in the final rule in an expansion of the proposed rule, which previously focused on general industry. OSHA began enforcing the new lower eight-hour permissible exposure limit (PEL) and short-term (15-minute) exposure limit (STEL) for construction on May 11, 2018.
ABC and other construction groups filed a petition against OSHA’s final rule on beryllium exposure on March 9, 2017. The litigation is ongoing.
On June 27, 2017, the Trump administration issued a proposed rule to revoke the ancillary provisions included in the beryllium final rule for the construction and shipyard sectors, but retain the PELs. ABC submitted comments on the proposed rule on Aug. 27, 2017. Additionally, ABC filed comments as part of the Construction Industry Safety Coalition.
On Sept. 30, 2019, OSHA published the final rule but backtracked and decided not to revoke the ancillary provisions of the beryllium standard for the construction and shipyard sectors. The final rule delays the compliance dates for its ancillary provisions until Sept. 30, 2020. OSHA then issued a proposal on Oct. 8 that makes minor revisions to the ancillary provisions of the beryllium standard that are tailored for the construction industry
Updates on regulatory and legal actions related to Beryllium will be included in Newsline.
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