The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) today issued a direct final rule (DFR)
clarifying aspects of the beryllium standard for general industry as it applies to processes, operations, or
areas where workers may be exposed to materials containing less than 0.1% beryllium by weight.
The DFR clarifies the definitions of Beryllium Work Area, emergency, dermal contact, and beryllium
contamination. It also clarifies provisions for disposal and recycling, and provisions that the Agency
intends to apply only where skin can be exposed to materials containing at least 0.1% beryllium by
The direct final rule will become effective on July 4, 2018, unless the Agency receives significant adverse
comments by June 4, 2018.
Why is beryllium a hazard to workers?
Workers in industries where beryllium is present may be exposed to beryllium by inhaling or contacting
beryllium in the air or on surfaces. Inhaling or contacting beryllium can cause an immune response that
results in an individual becoming sensitized to beryllium. Individuals with beryllium sensitization are at
risk for developing a debilitating disease of the lungs called chronic beryllium disease (CBD) if they
inhale airborne beryllium after becoming sensitized. Beryllium-exposed workers may also develop other
adverse health effects such as acute beryllium disease, and lung cancer. See the Health Effects section in
the preamble of the Beryllium Final Rule for more information
Who is exposed to beryllium in the workplace?
OSHA estimates that approximately 62,000 workers are potentially exposed to beryllium in
approximately 7,300 establishments in the United States. While the highest exposures occur in the
workplace, family members of workers who work with beryllium also have potential exposure from
contaminated work clothing and vehicles. Based on OSHA Integrated Management Information System
and industry exposure data, beryllium workers in primary beryllium manufacturing and alloy production,
and recycling have the highest average exposures to beryllium. Occupations with potential exposure to
Primary Beryllium Production Workers
Workers Processing Beryllium Metal/Alloys/Composites
Secondary smelting and refining (recycling electronic and computer parts, metals)/ Abrasive Blasters