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12th August 2015

US OSHA Proposes Beryllium Standard with 0.2 OEL (CFC Total Method)

In a press conference on August 6, 2015 OSHA, Industry and Labor applauded the issuance of a proposed occupational health and safety standard for beryllium that reduced the permissible exposure limit from 2.0 micrograms per cubic meter of air to 0.2 micrograms per cubic meter. The US Secretary of Labor Tom Perez remarked, “The proposal is strong because of unprecedented partnership between manufacturers and the United Steelworkers.”

During the press conference, Assistant Secretary of Labor sated, “I am thrilled that we have Richard Hipple, CEO of Materion, and Leo Gerard, International President of the United Steelworkers, on the phone with us today to underscore the significance of their efforts. Together, they have created a historic opportunity to protect the lives and lungs of thousands of beryllium-exposed workers.”  Materion CEO Dick Hipple said, “We believe our joint involvement has served to reduce the time necessary to reach this important milestone.  Our cooperative efforts demonstrate that industry and labor can collaborate to protect workers and protect jobs.  Our model of collaboration and respect for workers should serve as a guide for OSHA and industry to consider in preparing future standards regarding all materials.”

The Beryllium Science and Technology Association is aligned with the European Commission in its Better Regulation agenda that highlights, “Legislation should do what it is intended to do, it should be easy to implement, provide certainty and predictability and it should avoid any unnecessary burden. Sensible, realistic rules, properly implemented and enforced across the EU. Rules that do their job to meet our common objectives – no more, no less.”  BeST believes that this guiding principle certainly applies to regulations on beryllium.  This is particularly relevant now that the USA has moved forward with a proposal that limits employee exposures to 0.2 µg/m3 using the total particulate sampling method.