By Nick Goldstein, vice president of regulatory affairs, ARTBA

ARTBA, as part of the Construction Industry Safety Coalition (CISC), is objecting to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration’s (OSHA) proposed expansion of beryllium exposure standards to the construction industry.

Beryllium is an element that is stronger than steel and lighter than aluminum. It is mainly used in the nuclear and energy fields, and in general manufacturing. It is not frequently deployed in construction.

If inhaled or touched on surfaces, beryllium can cause lung cancer or other health problems.

When OSHA first proposed to tighten beryllium standards for general industry in 2015, it did not include construction in the rule. Earlier this year, the agency abruptly reversed its position in a proposal that does apply to the construction industry.

In Aug. 28 comments to OSHA, the CISC warned that “the final beryllium rule and this proposed rule are the products of regulatory overreach, requiring contractors to expend resources to address adverse health outcomes that do not exist in construction.” The comments also stated “a comprehensive standard regulating beryllium exposure in construction is unnecessary from a safety and health standpoint and would impose significant burdens and unnecessary costs on construction contractors.”