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OSHA Proposes Amendments to its 2017 Beryllium Standard

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has proposed amendments to its January 9, 2017 final rule adopting general industry standards for beryllium exposure in the workplace. The final rule, adding 29 C.F.R. §§ 1910.1024, 1915.1024, and 1926.1124, revised decades-old standards for protecting workers from beryllium exposure in the workplace. Significantly and in response to industry concern, the proposed revisions, 83 Fed. Reg. 63746 (December 11, 2018), clarify and narrow the scope of a “beryllium work area.”

Specifically, the proposed “beryllium work area” would limit the regulated space to areas in which materials that contain at least 0.1 percent beryllium by weight are processed in one of three listed manufacturing operations. In contrast, the January 2017 rule defines beryllium work area as “anywork area containing a process or operation that can release beryllium and that involves material that contains at least 0.1 percent beryllium by weight; and, where employees are, or can reasonably be expected to be, exposed to airborne beryllium at any level or where there is the potential for dermal contact with beryllium” (emphasis added).

In addition and of particular note, OSHA proposes to: clarify five other definitions; change the wording of the requirements for employers’ written exposure control plans; revise the requirements for handling, removal, and storage of personal protective clothing and equipment; eliminate “dermal contact with beryllium” as a trigger for establishing a beryllium work area under the rule’s hygiene areas and practices requirements; augment its Disposal and Recycling section to include guidance on reuse; limit the amount of time to 30 days for employees to receive a medical examination following signs or symptoms of chronic beryllium disease; synchronizing its label warning requirements for beryllium with OSHA’s hazard communication standard (29 C.F.R. § 1910.1200); and eliminate the requirement to include employees’ social security numbers in its Recordkeeping provisions. The proposed revisions would also establish a new Appendix A outlining operations for establishing beryllium work areas.

OSHA has invited comments to the proposed revisions, which must be submitted by February 11, 2019.

These proposed revisions follow OSHA’s May 4, 2018 direct rule amending the limits of dermal contact with beryllium.

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About this Author

Mark Duvali, Environmental Attorney, Beveridge Diamond PC
Principal

Mark Duvall has over two decades of experience working in-house at large chemical companies.  His focus at Beveridge & Diamond, P.C. has been on product regulation at the federal, state, and international levels across a wide range of programs, and occupational safety and health.  He co-chairs the Firm's Chemicals, Products, and Nanotechnology practice group. 

He heads the Firm’s Toxic and Harmful Substances/Toxic Substances Control Act practice.  His experience under TSCA includes enforcement actions, counseling, rulemaking, advocacy, and legislative actions.  He chairs the...

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Sarah A. Kettenmann, Beveridge Diamond, general environmental litigation lawyer, regulatory practice attorney
Associate

Sarah Kettenmann maintains a general environmental litigation and regulatory practice. Prior to joining the Firm, Sarah served as a judicial clerk for Chief Justice Chase T. Rogers in the Supreme Court of Connecticut.

During her time at Pace Law School, Sarah  served as a judicial extern for Judge Laura Taylor Swain in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York (S.D.N.Y.), and  interned in the Civil Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, S.D.N.Y., and in the King’s County District Attorney’s Office.  She also served as an environmental policy adviser and legal extern in the United Nations General Assembly, Permanent Mission of Saint Kitts & Nevis to the United Nations.  She also served as a research assistant in the Pace University Center for Environmental Legal Studies and as acquisitions editor for Pace Environmental Law Review.

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