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Toxic Chemicals

Cal/OSHA: Protect Workers from Cancer-Causing Beryllium

Beryllium is a highly toxic metal used in electronics, energy, and medical industries, and in abrasive blasting operations in construction and shipyards. Beryllium exposure can cause lung cancer and potentially fatal Chronic Beryllium Disease (CBD). At its August 17th meeting in Pasadena, the Cal/OSHA Standards Board has the opportunity to adopt strong Federal OSHA standards on workplace beryllium exposure, before the Trump administration weakens those standards.

Federal OSHA promulgated beryllium exposure standards on January 9, 2017, and Cal/OSHA has proposed adopting state standards that are substantially the same. This is a standard procedure to maintain conformity with federal regulations. Industry groups, however, have urged Cal/OSHA to delay, due to Federal OSHA proposing new rulemaking in June to revise the beryllium standards, at the direction of the Trump administration.

Worksafe urges the Standards Board to adopt the federal beryllium standards promulgated in January, to ensure the strongest protections for workers and maintain the integrity of our state’s rulemaking process. California has taken a strong stand on immigrants’ rights, environmental protection, and other areas against the Trump administration’s attacks on sound policy and established procedure. Worksafe believes California should do the same when it comes to protecting workers’ safety and health.