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Department of Labor releases new beryllium exposure rules

Beryllium and its derivative compounds are a dangerous substance that is present in a variety of industries from construction to shipping. Beryllium is utilized in alloys, ceramic, metals, and non-ferrous foundries. It is a base element that is present in many necessities. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimates that the new rule will save around 90 lives a year, providing an estimated $560.9 million in benefits annually.

The new rule takes effect May 21, 2017. All affected sectors (construction, shipyards, and general industry) must comply with most provisions by March 12, 2017 (the original implementation date, delayed by executive action from the White House). From there on, there are graduated dates in which specific areas must come into compliance, like engineering controls.

OSHA reduced the acceptable, permissible exposure limit to 0.2 micrograms of beryllium per cubic meter of air over the course of an eight-hour workday. The rule also imposed a short-term limit of 2.0 micrograms for 15-minute exposure periods.

It also requires employers to provide ventilation and respirators to workers who operate around beryllium. Additionally, they must limit worker access to exposure areas whenever feasible and to train their employees on proper beryllium safety procedures. Employers are also required to provide medical exams to affected workers.

Filing a claim for a workplace illness is complicated but not impossible. Many of the issues you will confront, have to do with when you contracted the disease, when you learned about it, and when you connected it to your work. A lawyer can help you parse through the timeline and facts to ensure that you submit a solid claim with a good chance at fair compensation. Additionally, a lawyer on hand can more quickly respond to any inquiries or file an appeal. You don't need to figure it out alone; an attorney can help.

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