In spring of 2021, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published new beryllium guidance intended to help employers and workers understand and navigate the beryllium standards.
One of the documents provides guidance for interim enforcement for the updated final rule revisions to the beryllium standards for general industry, shipyards, and construction.
Beryllium Guidance for Medical Surveillance
Beryllium is a strong, lightweight metal that is used in many industries, including electronics and the defense industry.
Inhaling or coming into contact with beryllium in the air can cause workers to develop adverse health effects, including acute beryllium disease (CBD) and lung cancer.
OSHA requires employers to offer medical surveillance, as part of its beryllium guidance, to workers if one of the following conditions is met:
- Workers are exposed, or reasonably expected to be exposed, to beryllium above the action level of 0.1 μg/m3 for 30 days in a year
- Workers show signs or symptoms of a beryllium-related disease – such as coughing and/or difficulty breathing
- Workers were exposed to beryllium during an emergency (Note: this only applies to general industry)
- A worker has received a recommendation for continued medical surveillance following a physicians exam
Whether or not an employee meets the criteria above, employers still have to offer a Beryllium Lymphocyte Proliferation Test (BeLPT) (or equivalent test) to any employee who previously qualified for it at least every two years after the first exam.
The Beryllium Lymphocyte Proliferation Test helps determine if a worker’s immune system reacts to beryllium as a foreign substance.
If workers are not sensitized to beryllium and do not have CBD, the immune system does not respond to the beryllium in the test — giving normal BeLPT results. Only beryllium sensitized individuals can develop CBD, although not all will develop it..
Results from the BeLPT are given as either abnormal, borderline, or normal. If the results are abnormal or borderline, the employer must offer a second test to confirm the results within 30 days.
Learn more with OSHA’s frequently asked questions about the beryllium guidance and associated standards. To schedule your beryllium medical surveillance testing, or to get a free quote on all of your onsite medical surveillance testing, just complete the form below!
About Worksite Medical
In most cases, OSHA requires medical surveillance testing, and at no cost to employees.
Worksite Medical makes that program easier with mobile medical testing.
We conduct on-site respirator fit tests, as well as audiometric exams, pulmonary function tests and heavy metal lab work, right on your job site. We also keep accurate, easy-to-access medical records for your convenience. You’ll keep your employees at work, and stay ahead of OSHA inspections.
With Worksite Medical, a mobile medical testing unit — we can bring all the resources of a lab to you. Our certified lab technicians can perform both qualitative and quantitative respirator tests to ensure a perfect fit.
Protect your team and your workplace now with Worksite Medical. Not sure what you need? Try our medical testing wizard here.
Give us a call at 1-844-622-8633, or complete the form below to schedule an on-site visit or to get your free quote!