08.06.15

Murray, Scott Applaud New Worker Protections Limiting Harmful Beryllium Exposure

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), the top Democrat on the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, and Congressman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (D-VA), the ranking member of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, praised a new standard to reduce workplace exposure to beryllium, a mineral that has been linked to lung disease and, in some cases, been fatal. In addition to limiting beryllium exposure, the proposed rule from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will also require additional protections, such as personal protective equipment, medical exams, and medical surveillance and training.

 

“This new standard has been a long time coming, and I am glad that OSHA has taken this important step to make workplaces healthier and protect workers, particularly those in the aircraft and nuclear industries,” Murray said. “Every worker deserves to have the confidence that while they are working hard and doing their jobs, their workplaces are safe.”

 

“For decades, too many workers have been afflicted with beryllium disease and have long deserved better OSHA protections,” Scott said. “OSHA’s proposed rule reduces a significant risk to workers in ‘general industries,’ but its scope must be broadened to cover shipyard workers, including those in my district, who use abrasive grit blasting materials that contain beryllium. I am pleased OSHA is inviting comment on an alternative that would expand the rule to cover both shipyard and construction workers.”