Monthly Round Up of Important Ideas and Standards in
Industrial Hygiene and Safety
N THIS ISSUE: OSHA Examines Beryllium’s Link to Fatal Respiratory Diseases
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is developing a more stringent standard to reduce worker exposure to dust or fumes from beryllium metal, metal oxides, or alloys, all of which may cause serious and sometimes fatal respiratory disease chronic beryllium disease, lung cancer, and skin disease. Beryllium is used in the manufacturing processes of a number of industries including the aerospace, oil and gas, and auto industries.
“Because of beryllium’s widespread use, OSHA’s new rule will impact a vast number of workers,” explains Gary R. Ticker, CIH, CSP, of OccuSafe, Inc, “The new standard will protect these workers from fatal diseases.”
OSHA is considering a change in the Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) for beryllium, currently at 2 micrograms per cubic meter of air. NIOSH, the research arm of OSHA, recommends a standard of 0.5 micrograms per cubic meter of air.
Some of the ways to reduce exposure is to increase ventilation and to provide protective clothing to guard against skin sensitization.
“There are a number of ways to reduce exposure to beryllium,” explains Ticker, “And employers should reduce employee exposure to the lower NIOSH limit.”
OccuSafe Environmental and Safety, Inc. provides skills and expertise to recognize, evaluate and control hazards and injuries in the areas of industrial hygiene, occupational safety and health. OccuSafe services companies of all sizes in a range of industries.
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