By Brad Sant, senior vice president of safety & education, ARTBA.

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), in a new standard on exposure to beryllium for the construction industry, says it will continue enforcing the permissible exposure limit (PEL) and short-term exposure limit (STEL) set in May 2018. The agency also says it will delay the compliance for other new provisions until August 2021.

Those changes, according to OSHA’s announcement, include:

  • tailoring the requirements of the construction standards to the particular industry exposures in light of partial overlaps between the beryllium standards’ requirements and other OSHA standards;
  • improving consistency between the construction standards and those of the shipyard and general industry; and
  • clarifying certain requirements with respect to materials containing only trace amounts of beryllium.  

ARTBA and its partners in the Construction Industry Safety Coalition have repeatedly opposed the application of this standard to construction, citing a series of shortcomings on the part of the agency including OSHA’s failure to demonstrate a significant risk of material health impairment for construction workers, failure to complete the required feasibility analysis for this industry, and not properly consulting with construction stakeholders.