Occupational Exposure to Beryllium
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is amending its existing standards for occupational exposure to beryllium and beryllium compounds. OSHA has determined that employees exposed to beryllium at the previous permissible exposure limits face a significant risk of material impairment to their health. The evidence in the record for this rulemaking indicates that workers exposed to beryllium are at increased risk of developing chronic beryllium disease and lung cancer. This final rule establishes new permissible exposure limits of 0.2 micrograms of beryllium per cubic meter of air (0.2 [mu]g/m\3\) as an 8-hour time-weighted average and 2.0 [mu]g/m\3\ as a short-term exposure limit determined over a sampling period of 15 minutes. It also includes other provisions to protect employees, such as requirements for exposure assessment, methods for controlling exposure, respiratory protection, personal protective clothing and equipment, housekeeping, medical surveillance, hazard communication, and recordkeeping. OSHA is issuing three separate standards--for general industry, for shipyards, and for construction--in order to tailor requirements to the circumstances found in these sectors.