First announced in January 2017, OSHA’s new beryllium exposure limit for construction workers was originally supposed to be in full effect on March 12, 2018. The administration just announced last Friday that the new enforcement date for the rule will be May 11, 2018.
Previously, OSHA regulation 29 CFR 1926.1124 stated that the 8-hour permissible exposure limit (PEL) to Beryllium was 2.0 micrograms per cubic meter, but the new rule lowers the PEL to 0.2 micrograms per cubic meter. The new rule also established a short term exposure limit (STEL) of 2.0 micrograms per cubic meter over a 15 minute period.
OSHA estimates that around 11,500 construction workers are exposed to beryllium on jobsites throughout the country, mostly through coal slag, which is commonly used in abrasive sandblasting. Like other respirable particulates found in construction, beryllium has been linked to a lung disease, specifically chronic beryllium disease. The disease kills around 100 people each year.
General Industry and Shipyard Industry are also being affected by the final rule. Until OSHA begins enforcing the rule on May 11, the group states that “in the interim, if an employer fails to meet the new PEL or STEL, OSHA will inform the employer of the exposure levels and offer assistance to assure understanding and compliance.”
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OSHA had to fight hard to finally get its relatively new crystalline silica dust exposure regulations passed, and, once it did, the agency wasted no time enforcing the law. In the regulations first 6 months, OSHA issued 116 violations, but the highest penalty at that point was $9,239. More recently, the Virginia Occupational Safety and Health Compliance Division (VOSH) has possibly issued a record citation to a highway contractor, a whopping $304,130 penalty.
Falls from height are the leading cause of fatalities on construction sites by a long shot, as the account for around 40% of deaths. Fall protection training in the classroom can often fall short, because hearing words and learning definitions about fall prevention may not have the same effect as seeing and interacting with fall prevention techniques.
On Monday morning, a 13 story building in Miami Beach that was being prepped for demolition suddenly collapsed, injuring one Project Manager that was struck by debris.
OSHA's new crystalline silica dust exposure regulations officially went into effect on September 23, 2017. Over the past 10 months, there has been plenty of confusion about the lung disease causing material. In the first 6 months after the effective date, OSHA's inspectors yielded 116 violations across the country.
Investigators are on the scene of a catastrophic explosion at a Texas construction project that killed 1 and has injured another 15 workers. The explosion occurred on Tuesday afternoon at Coryell Memorial Healthcare System in Gatesville, Texas, which is being expanded.