OSHA published a final rule revising the beryllium standards for construction and shipyards. According to the agency, the final rule includes changes designed to clarify the standards and simplify or improve compliance. The final standards will affect approximately 12,000 workers employed in nearly 2,800 establishments in the construction and shipyard industries.
The final rule amends the following paragraphs in the beryllium standards for construction and shipyards: definitions, methods of compliance, respiratory protection, personal protective clothing and equipment, housekeeping, hazard communication, medical surveillance and recordkeeping. The agency also removed the hygiene areas and practices paragraph from the final standards because the necessary protections are provided by existing OSHA standards for sanitation.
According to OSHA, the changes are designed to accomplish three goals:
- Tailor the requirements of the construction and shipyards standards to the particular exposures in these industries in light of partial overlap between the beryllium standards’ requirements and other OSHA standards
- Aid compliance and enforcement across the beryllium standards by eliminating inconsistency between the shipyards and construction standards and recent revisions to the general industry standard
- Clarify certain requirements with respect to materials containing only trace amounts of beryllium
The effective date of the revisions is Sept. 30, 2020. OSHA began enforcing the new permissible exposure limits in the 2017 beryllium standards for construction and shipyards in May 2018.