Partnering Up for Safety
To better protect industry workers, a proposal was issued in August by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) that would set a new, lower exposure standard specifically for beryllium and beryllium-containing materials. The proposed beryllium standard is consistent with the Model Beryllium Standard and contains the key elements of Materion’s Beryllium Worker Protection Model (BWPM) which focuses on the control of multiple potential exposure pathways.
Issuance of the proposed OSHA standard comes after collaboration between the United Steelworkers (USW) and Materion Performance Alloys to develop a model occupational health standard for beryllium that would better protect workers. According to the union and the company, this collaboration was intended to put worker protection first while providing a positive economic benefit for all stakeholders, including workers, customers, government, and the beryllium-producing and fabricating industries. The model beryllium standard was jointly submitted to OSHA in February 2012.
The new proposed beryllium standard is consistent with the Model Beryllium Standard and contains the key elements of Materion’s Beryllium Worker Protection Model (BWPM) which focuses on the control of multiple potential exposure pathways. The BWPM was developed, in part, from a 16-year research partnership with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and has been successfully used to reduce worker exposure to airborne beryllium and the potential risk of adverse health effects at facilities manufacturing and processing beryllium and beryllium-containing materials.
Materion has and will continue to recommend the use of the BWPM by customers and downstream users of beryllium-containing products. Information on the BWPM and specific processes can be found here in the Interactive Guide to Working Safely with Beryllium and Beryllium-containing Materials.