After being pushed back a few weeks ago, the effective date for a new beryllium rule may be delayed again following a call for further review.
The U.S. Department of Labor announced a “proposed delay” of the Occupational Exposure to Beryllium rule on March 1. The rule’s effective date would be pushed back from March 21, 2017, to May 20, 2017.
The delay will allow the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to comply with a presidential directive “Regulatory Freeze Pending Review.” OSHA, while reviewing the beryllium rule, decided it needed more time to fully review the regulation, so it has proposed this additional delay.
The delay of the effective date will also not affect the compliance dates of the beryllium rule, according to OSHA. The public can submit comments about the proposed delay at www.regulations.gov or to the OSHA Docket Office (Docket No. OSHA-H005C-2006-0870).
According to OSHA, beryllium is a lightweight but strong metal used in many industries, including aerospace, medical, electronics, defense, and telecommunications. But beryllium is highly toxic, and workers who inhale it are at a higher risk of developing chronic beryllium disease or lung cancer.
The new beryllium rule, which has standards for construction, general industry, and shipyards, will decrease the permissible exposure limit of beryllium to an average of 0.2 micrograms per cubic meter of air over 8 hours. A new short-term exposure limit was established at 2.0 micrograms per cubic meter of air over a 15-minute sampling period.
Once the new regulations are fully implemented, OSHA estimates that 94 lives will be saved each year and 46 new cases of chronic beryllium disease will be prevented. The rule will also provide an estimated $560.9 million in annual net benefits. About 62,000 workers are exposed to beryllium on the job.
Watch our blog and social media channels to stay updated on any new developments for the beryllium rule.