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Trump Order Delays Effective Date of OSHA Beryllium Rule

February 1, 2017
An executive order by President Donald J. Trump prompted the delay of a new OSHA final rule on beryllium exposure. Image courtesy of Flickr user Gage Skidmore
An executive order by President Donald J. Trump prompted the delay of a new OSHA final rule on beryllium exposure. Image courtesy of Flickr user Gage Skidmore

The effective date of a final rule on occupational exposure to beryllium created by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has been delayed in response to an executive order by President Donald J. Trump freezing the effective dates of new agency regulations, according to an entry made to the Federal Registry on Wednesday.

OSHA said in the entry that the action is in response to a presidential directive, or executive order, made by President Donald J. Trump’s administration on Jan. 20 that required federal agencies to postpone all new regulations published in the Federal Register that had not yet taken effect for a 60-day period. Originally set to take effect March 10, the final rule, “Occupational Exposure to Beryllium,” was published in the Federal Register on Jan. 9.

“The temporary delay in effective date until March 21, 2017, will give Agency officials the opportunity for review and consideration of new regulations, as required by the memorandum,” stated OSHA in the Federal Registry entry. “Given the imminence of this effective date, seeking prior public comment on this temporary delay would have been impractical, as well as contrary to the public interest in the orderly promulgation and implementation of regulations.”

Compliance dates of the Beryllium final rule are unchanged by the extension, according to the entry.

In a Jan. 10 article reporting on the new OSHA final rule, Powder & Bulk Solids noted that the agency estimates 62,000 American workers could be protected from risks linked to workplace exposure to beryllium, a material that can cause lung diseases.

“Outdated exposure limits do not adequately protect workers from beryllium exposure,” Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels said in a statement announcing the final rule’s issuance. “OSHA’s new standard is based on a strong foundation of science and consensus on the need for action, including peer-reviewed scientific evidence, a model standard developed by industry and labor, current consensus standards, and extensive public outreach. The new limits will reduce exposures and protect the lives and lungs of thousands of beryllium-exposed workers.”

In the wake of Trump’s executive order sparking the regulatory freeze, Politico reported on Jan. 25 that the only producer of beryllium in the U.S., Materion, asked the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals to review the OSHA regulation. Materion, which helped draft the rule with the United Steel Workers, is maintaining that changes made by OSHA make the regulation “unworkable,” the news website said. “Beryllium workers and employers are best served by clear, workable language that reflects this historic labor-management partnership,” a statement by Materion said, the website reported.

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