Safety and OSHA News

OSHA: Beryllium rule update, comments requested on VPP

Despite the lack of a nominee to head OSHA under the Trump administration, the agency continues to make changes, including one proposal to the beryllium standard. 

A proposed rule would modify OSHA’s beryllium standard for the construction and shipyard sectors.

Representatives of the two industries had raised concerns that they didn’t receive a meaningful opportunity to comment on the rule when it was developed in 2015-16.

The beryllium standard would be unchanged for general industry.

The proposal for shipyards and construction would maintain the requirements for exposure limits: 0.2 micrograms per cubic meter (µg/m³) and a short-term exposure limit of 2.0 µg/m³.

The proposed changes are to ancillary provisions such as housekeeping and personal protective equipment for construction and shipyards.

A Notice of Proposed Rulemaking will be published in the Federal Register on June 27, 2017. There will be a 60-day comment period.

OSHA won’t enforce the Jan. 9, 2017, construction and shipyard beryllium standard until further notice while determining how to amend the rule for those two industries. The beryllium standard for general industry will be enforced as is.

Boost for VPP?

OSHA is also asking for comments on how to strengthen the Voluntary Protection Program (VPP).

VPP recognizes employers and workers in private industry who have implemented effective safety and health management systems and maintain injury and illness rate below national Bureau of Labor Statistics averages for their industry. VPP participants are exempt from OSHA programmed inspections.

Some questions about VPP OSHA would like input on:

  • What can OSHA do to enhance and encourage the efforts of employers, workers and unions to identify and address workplace hazards through the VPP?
  • How can OSHA modify VPP to enhance long-term participants?
  • How can OSHA modify Corporate VPP for greater effectiveness?

OSHA will hold a stakeholder meeting July 17 in Washington, DC, to discuss the future of VPP.

A second meeting is tentatively scheduled the week of Aug. 28 during the VPPPA National Conference.

You can also submit comments online. The online docket will close Sept. 15.

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