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Dakota Software's Blog for EHS and Sustainability Professionals

OSHA delays full beryllium rule enforcement

August 29th, 2018 by Dakota Software Staff

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently announced that its new beryllium rule will not come into full effect until December 12, when certain components of the regulation will become active for companies in the general industry category. Safety + Health magazine reported enforcement will be delayed for a variety of reasons, ranging from methods of compliance and regulated areas to personal protective equipment and communication of hazards. Recordkeeping and hygiene practices and facilities are also impacted by the date change.

Beryllium standard sees staggered roll out of provisions

"Certain parts of the beryllium rule will be delayed until Dec. 12."

It's important to note that the standard as a whole is not affected by the delay, EHS Today reported. Companies have carried the responsibility of complying with many other provisions of the rule since mid-May. Outside of the specific items listed in the announcement posted in the Federal Register, businesses should continue to follow the established beryllium rules. They must also ensure they achieve compliance as quickly as possible for any areas where that goal has not yet been reached.

"With this final rule, OSHA is extending the compliance date for certain ancillary requirements of the general industry beryllium standard to December 12, 2018," agency officials wrote in the Federal Register notice. "This standard protects workers from the hazards of beryllium exposure. OSHA has determined that this final rule will maintain essential safety and health protections for workers while OSHA prepares a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to clarify specific provisions of the beryllium standard in accordance with a settlement agreement entered into with stakeholders."

The decision behind the delay has to do with the development of a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. OSHA intends to make changes to the rule in its current form that can maintain worker health and safety standards while also addressing compliance burdens for employers. The NPRM stems from a settlement agreement made earlier in 2018 between the federal health and safety regulator and the National Association of Manufacturers, along with three individual companies. OSHA already clarified some other elements of the beryllium standard in May.

Those previously developed amendments were designed to clarify specific portions of the overall rule, a separate article from Safety + Health said. Those changes focused on the definitions of the terms beryllium work area, emergency, skin contact and contamination. Further information was issued related to disposal and recycling, as well as for exposure to materials containing at least 0.1 percent beryllium by weight.

Although unrelated to settlements and other recent rule-making concerns, other elements of the standard are still many months away from OSHA enforcement. Regulations related to change rooms and showers won't go into effect until 2019, while measures tied to engineering controls won't be enforceable until 2020.

Managing changing regulatory requirements

Businesses need insight into the current status of regulatory requirements as they try to create the most compliant work environments possible. To learn more about how Dakota can help your company maintain the necessary transparency and insight for regulatory success, get in touch with us today.

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