OSHA estimates that around 11,500 construction workers are exposed to beryllium on job sites throughout the country, mostly through coal slag, which is commonly used in abrasive sandblasting. Like other respirable particulates found in construction, beryllium has been linked to a lung disease, specifically chronic beryllium disease. The disease kills around 100 people each year.
General Industry and Shipyard Industry are also being affected by the final rule. Until OSHA begins enforcing the rule on May 11, the group states that “in the interim, if an employer fails to meet the new PEL or STEL, OSHA will inform the employer of the exposure levels and offer assistance to assure understanding and compliance.”