OSHA’s New Beryllium Standard

OSHA’s previous permissible exposure limits (PELs) for beryllium are outdated and put workers in danger. The U.S. National Toxicology Program, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health have all identified beryllium as a human carcinogen. If engineering and work practice controls cannot keep exposures at or below the PEL, employers must provide respiratory protection to affected employees. The final rule is expected to reduce the risk of disease among beryllium-exposed workers.

As industry leaders, Seton offers a range of signs, labels, and personal protective equipment to help limit your exposure to Beryllium and keep your workplace OSHA compliant.

For more information about how the new standard, please click here.

Find out how Chronic Beryllium Disease (CBD) can affect your health.

Frequently asked questions:

Beryllium is a lightweight but extremely strong metal used in the aerospace, electronics, energy, telecommunications, medical, and defense industries. Beryllium-copper alloys are widely used because of their electrical and thermal conductivity, hardness, and good corrosion resistance. Beryllium oxide is used to make ceramics for electronics and other electrical equipment because of its heat conductivity, high strength and hardness, and good electrical insulation. Metal slags and fly ash (a byproduct of coal-fired power plants) may also contain trace amounts of beryllium (<0.1% by weight).

Inhaling airborne beryllium can cause a lung disease called chronic beryllium disease (CBD). Occupational exposure to beryllium has also been linked to lung cancer. However, CBD is the primary health risk for beryllium workers.

Chronic Beryllium Disease (CBD), formerly known as “berylliosis,” is a chronic granulomatous (inflammatory) lung disease caused by inhalation of airborne beryllium by individuals who have been previously sensitized to beryllium. CBD signs and symptoms can include shortness of breath, fatigue, weight loss, fever, and night sweats but may take months or years after exposure to beryllium to appear. CBD can continue to progress even after a worker has been removed from exposure. An individual must become sensitized to beryllium before he or she can develop CBD.

Beryllium sensitization is the activation of the body’s immune response to beryllium. Beryllium sensitization can result from inhalation or skin exposure to beryllium dust, fume, mist or solutions. While no clinical symptoms are associated with sensitization, a sensitized worker is at risk of developing CBD when inhalation exposure to beryllium has occurred. Beryllium sensitization (BeS) is determined by a test result(s) indicating a person has been identified as having an immunological sensitivity to beryllium.

All information has been gathered from OSHA.gov.