OSHA issued a new final rule which dramatically lowers workplace exposure to beryllium, a strategically important material that can cause devastating lung diseases. The final rule will reduce the eight-hour permissible exposure limit from the previous level of 2.0 micrograms per cubic meter to 0.2 micrograms per cubic meter. Above that level, employers must take steps to reduce the airborne concentration of beryllium. The rule also requires additional protections, including personal protective equipment, medical exams, other medical surveillance and training. Further, it establishes a short-term exposure limit of 2.0 micrograms per cubic meter over a 15-minute sampling period. According to OSHA, recent scientific evidence shows that even low-level exposures to beryllium can cause serious lung disease. This new rule revises permissible exposure limits which were based on decades-old studies.
Read the full release from OSHA here.