This month, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued a rule that would work to lower workplace exposure to beryllium, an important material in the workplace that could lead to devastating lung diseases. An estimated 62,000 workers will now be protected by this vital rule.
Beryllium is a hazard to workers because it can cause a drastic immune response that results in an individual becoming very sensitive to its properties. If a worker obtains this sensitivity, they could be at risk of developing a debilitating disease of the lungs known as chronic beryllium disease. Some of the workers affected are production workers, workers who process beryllium metal, machine operators, blasters, and so many more. Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels has commented on the issue, “Outdated exposure limits do not adequately protect workers from beryllium exposure.”
OSHA believes that the new rule will work to save the lives of 94 workers on an annual level as well as help prevent up to 46 new cases of beryllium-related disease. Once these new rules are in place, employers will have one year to implement provisions and get started on a healthier workplace. Two of the new aspects involved in the process will be change rooms and showers, which will now be a requirement in the workplace when beryllium is handled.
If you have been injured or fallen ill due to exposure in the workplace, call us today. At Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi we can handle your workplace injuries and illnesses and get you the compensation you deserve.