The Occupational Safety and Health Administration regularly reviews existing workplace safety regulations, searching for policy gaps that require immediate action. The agency did just that in January when it issued a new rule on beryllium exposure in the workplace. OSHA reduced the maximum exposure limit from 2 micrograms of beryllium per cubic foot of air to 0.2 mg per foot of cubic air over the course of an eight hour span. Officials instituted the new regulation in an effort to further protect workers who come into contact with the potentially toxic metal, which is used across a variety of sectors, including construction, industrial and shipbuilding industries, according to the National Safety Council.
“OSHA’s new standard is based on a strong foundation of science and consensus on the need for action, including peer-reviewed scientific evidence, a model standard developed by industry and labor, current consensus standards and extensive public outreach,” former OSHA Administrator David Michaels explained in a press release published Jan. 6.
However, the new rule, which was scheduled to take effect in March, has faced some resistance under the Trump administration. The Department of Labor delayed implementation in the weeks following Inauguration Day, calling for another round of review. Last month, OSHA sent a revised version of the regulation to the White House, Bloomberg reported. This iteration is expected to be more business-friendly, as many firms stood in opposition to the regulation change.
The DOL assigned the beryllium rule an updated implementation of date of May 20 but OSHA has yet to receive the greenlight from the White House.