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Department of Labor proposes changes to beryllium rule

Description: The Department of Labor proposed to rescind critical aspects of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) final rule on exposure to beryllium in the workplace. On January 9, 2017, OSHA published its final rule on Occupational Exposure to Beryllium and Beryllium Compounds, which was promulgated to protect employees exposed to beryllium from significant risks of chronic beryllium disease and lung cancer. In the final rule, OSHA issued three separate standards for general industry, for shipyards, and for construction. Under the Trump administration, OSHA is now proposing rescinding aspects of the rule that were intended to protect workers in the construction and shipyards sectors. The DOL announced that OSHA will not enforce the January 9, 2017 shipyard and construction standards without further notice while this new rulemaking is underway

The proposed rollback of this rule follows the DOL’s announced a delay in the effective date of the Occupational Exposure to Beryllium rule from March 21, 2017, to May 20, 2017.

Fair Economy Impact:  About 62,000 workers are exposed to beryllium in their workplaces, including approximately 11,500 construction and shipyard workers. The Trump administration’s proposal would rescind important protections in the new rule, which was issued after decades of effort and study, and overwhelming evidence that OSHA’s 35 year old beryllium standard did not protect workers from severe lung disease and lung cancer. Under Trump’s proposal, employers would no longer have to measure beryllium levels or provide medical testing to workers at risk of fatal lung disease. This proposal is another example of Trump’s decision to abandon workers’ rights to come home safe and healthy at the end of the day, and in favor of corporate profits.


  • Proposal announced on June 27, 2017