DOL-OSHA-DEP-OHE-2020-001 - This document does not have the force and effect of law and is not meant to bind the public in any way. This document is intended only to provide clarity to the public regarding existing requirements under the law or agency policies.

September 29, 2020

MEMORANDUM FOR:
REGIONAL ADMINISTRATORS
STATE PLAN DESIGNEES
FROM:
LOREN SWEATT
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary
SUBJECT:
Enforcement for the Beryllium Standards in Construction and Maritime

On January 9, 2017, OSHA promulgated a final rule adopting standards for occupational exposure to beryllium and beryllium compounds in the construction and shipyard industries.1 The final rule set a permissible exposure limit (PEL) for beryllium of 0.2 micrograms per cubic meter (µg/m3) as an 8-hour time weighted average (TWA), and a short-term exposure limit (STEL) for beryllium of 2.0 µg/m3, over a 15-minute sampling period. The final rule also adopted additional ancillary requirements to protect employees against exposure. These requirements are found in paragraphs (d) through (n) of the standards, 29 CFR § 1926.1124 for construction, and 29 CFR § 1915.1024 for maritime.

OSHA began enforcing the beryllium TWA PEL and STEL on May 11, 2018. However, because OSHA conducted additional rulemaking on the ancillary requirements in the construction and maritime standards, OSHA has not begun enforcing the ancillary provisions of either standard. That additional rulemaking activity concluded with the revised final rule of August 31, 2020,2 which amended some of the ancillary requirements of the 2017 standards. The beryllium construction and shipyard ancillary requirements, including amendments to some of these requirements, become enforceable on September 30, 2020.

During the first 45 days of enforcement, OSHA will assist employers that are making good faith efforts to meet the ancillary requirements of the revised final Beryllium construction and shipyard standards. If upon inspection, it appears an employer is not making any efforts to comply with these provisions, compliance officers should consider citations for non-compliance with any applicable paragraphs in the two standards. Any proposed citations related to inspections conducted within the 45-day time-frame will require National Office review prior to issuance. This good faith policy does not apply to compliance with the TWA PEL or STEL.

Additionally, to ensure effective implementation and uniform enforcement of the new standard, OSHA has developed interim inspection and citation guidance for enforcing the Beryllium standards in construction and shipyards which will be released in the coming weeks. Federal OSHA strongly encourages State Plans that cover the private sector to implement a similar enforcement policy. Regional offices are advised to contact the Office of Health Enforcement at 202-693-2190 with any questions regarding enforcement of the Beryllium standards.

1: On January 9, 2017, OSHA published the final rule, Occupational Exposure to Beryllium, in the Federal Register (82 FR 2470-2757). [Back to Text]

2: On August 31, 2020, OSHA published a final rule revising the Beryllium standards for the construction and shipyard industries. (85 FR 53910). [Back to Text]