Skip to main content

Toxic Chemicals

Victory: California Takes a Stand on Beryllium

Last month, we updated you on efforts to protect workers from beryllium — a highly toxic metal used in a variety of industries that can cause chronic disease and lung cancer. Federal OSHA promulgated a strong beryllium exposure standard in January 2017. However under the new administration, Federal OSHA is currently attempting to remove provisions in the rule that protect workers in the shipyard and construction industries.

Under Federal OSHA regulations and the California Labor Code, Cal/OSHA Standards Board is required to adopt occupational safety and health standards that are at least as effective as federal occupational safety and health standards, within six months of the promulgation of the federal standard. 

Following this statutory obligation, we are pleased to report that the Cal/OSHA Standards Board unanimously adopted Federal OSHA standards on workplace beryllium exposure as promulgated by Federal OSHA in January 2017 during its last meeting on August 17th in Pasadena. 

We view this move as a heartening example of California’s willingness and responsibility to stand up to the Trump administration’s regressive and anti-science policies. As the federal government deregulates and divests from occupational health and safety protections, it is more important than ever for California to implement robust safeguards that protect workers and their families.