OSHA has finalized a rule with new beryllium standards for general industry, construction, and shipyards.
containing materials are safe in their solid form but pose a risk to certain
persons when-ever a dust or particulate is formed. Thus, various processing
methods used by scrap recyclers—or their consumers—such as crushing, shredding,
grinding, shot-blasting, welding, sparking, melting, or casting beryllium
products can produce potentially hazardous particulates.
Recycling operations that deal
with beryllium containing scrap should begin monitoring workers that have the
potential to be exposed to beryllium in the recycling process to determine if
they are covered by the OSHA beryllium standards. If facilities cannot provide
their own monitoring they should contact a third party industrial hygienist to
Beryllium can be found in
consumer electronics and telecommunications applications such as cable and
high-definition televisions, electrical contacts and connectors in cell phones
and computers, computer chip heat sinks, underwater fiber optic cables,
sockets, thermostats and bellows. Other beryllium
and beryllium aluminum alloy products that you will find include tools, golf clubs, battery terminals, hacksaws,
pipes, tubing, and extension springs.
Beryllium is a highly toxic
metal and workers who inhale beryllium are at an increased risk of developing
chronic beryllium disease (CBD) or lung cancer. 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
requires additional protections, including personal protective equipment,
medical exams, other medical surveillance and training, as well. It also
establishes a short-term exposure limit of 2.0 micrograms per cubic meter over
a 15-minute sampling period.
The final rule takes effect March 10, 2017. All sectors have one
year to comply with most of the requirements, two years to provide any required
change rooms and showers, and three years to implement engineering controls.
Please visit ISRI's Regulatory Update webpage for more information about the
rule, frequently asked questions, and compliance assistance resources or
contact Terry Cirone.