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The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) proposes to amend its existing exposure limits for occupational exposure in general industry to beryllium and beryllium compounds and to promulgate a substance-specific standard for general industry regulating occupational exposure to beryllium and beryllium compounds. In a proposed rule published on Aug. 7, 2015, OSHA  proposes a new  permissible exposure limit (PEL). Comments must be submitted by Nov. 5, 2015.

The proposed rule would reduce exposure limits to one-tenth of the amount currently allowed. Currently, OSHA’s eight-hour permissible exposure limit for beryllium is 2.0 micrograms per cubic meter of air. OSHA’s proposed standard would reduce the eight-hour permissible exposure limit to 0.2 micrograms per cubic meter. The proposed rule contains several ancillary provisions, including requirements for exposure assessment, personal protective clothing and equipment (PPE), medical surveillance, medical removal, training, and regulated areas  or access control.

The element beryllium is a grey metal that has great strength to weight properties, which has been classified as a strategic and critical material by the United States Department of Defense. According to OSHA, inhaling or contacting beryllium can cause an immune response that results in an individual becoming sensitized to it. Individuals with beryllium sensitization can develop a debilitating disease of the lungs called chronic beryllium disease if they inhale airborne beryllium after becoming sensitized.

The proposed rule can be found here.

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Photo of Frank Citera Frank Citera

Francis A. “Frank” Citera is a nationally-recognized trial lawyer representing clients in product liability, toxic torts, class actions and other complex litigation matters in federal and state courts. Frank has over 35 years of experience and is co-chair of the firm’s Product Liability

Francis A. “Frank” Citera is a nationally-recognized trial lawyer representing clients in product liability, toxic torts, class actions and other complex litigation matters in federal and state courts. Frank has over 35 years of experience and is co-chair of the firm’s Product Liability and Mass Torts Litigation Practice and co-chairs the Chicago Litigation Practice. An experienced architect of litigation strategies, Frank defends companies in various industries and business sectors including retailers such as Albertson’s, Claire’s Stores, Inc., Sears, and Whole Foods to technology and electronics companies like Qualcomm, Sony Electronics, and Underwriters Laboratories. He has achieved success in defeating class certification, disputing alleged claims in court, and obtaining summary judgments and outright dismissals prior to trial.

Ranked in Chambers USA for Product Liability: Consumer Class Actions (Band 2), Frank handles multi-state consumer class actions and often serves as national coordinating counsel for companies facing multidistrict and overlapping class action proceedings. He advises clients on risk management, crisis management and communications, and product safety matters and has appeared before federal and state agencies such as the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Food and Drug Administration, and the National Transportation Safety Board. Frank has been recognized by Chambers USA and Leading Lawyers Network, and The Legal 500 United States describes him as being “highly experienced and capable” and “renowned for his toxic tort and product liability work.”