OSHA Enforcement of New Beryllium Exposure Standard is Now in Effect for Construction Industry



The new beryllium standard reduces the permissible exposure limit (PEL) of employees to 0.2 micrograms per cubic meter, averaged over 8 hours and establishes a new short term exposure limit (STEL) of 2.0 micrograms per cubic meter over a 15 minute sampling period. Where the PEL is exceeded in the construction industry, OSHA will enforce its Respiratory Protection Standard as detailed in section G of the updated Beryllium standard 29 CFR 1926.1124.

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.

There were previously some additional, ancillary requirements in OSHA’s original update to the beryllium standard above and beyond the exposure limits, but those have sense been removed for the construction industry. 

Full story: OSHA Announces Delayed Enforcement of Certain Provisions of the Beryllium Standard | OSHA