The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has delayed enacting rules that would strengthen worker protections against beryllium, a naturally occurring but dangerous metal. Workers in the aerospace, construction and electronics industries are most at risk for beryllium exposure. Long-term exposure to beryllium can lead to chronic beryllium disease, a permanent lung condition.
OSHA regulators have spent the last eight months preparing a proposal that would reduce beryllium exposure limits, which are currently four times higher than what is allowed in China. According to OSHA, the limit of beryllium exposure is .05 micrograms per cubic meter in the U.S., but new regulations would decrease the limit. Workers in the U.S. would be required to wear respirators and other forms of protective clothing when working around the substance.
Unfortunately, an estimated 134,000 workers in the U.S. are exposed to beryllium every year. Chronic beryllium disease can lead to chest pains, fatigue and shortness of breath. As the disease progresses, it can become disabling or fatal.
Can Workers With Lung Disease Receive Workers’ Comp?
In the state of Ohio, health conditions such as chronic beryllium disease are considered “occupational diseases” by the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation. Other occupational diseases that we have written about on our blog include mesothelioma and silicosis.
Workers with chronic beryllium disease might be eligible for workers’ compensation or disability benefits. Contacting a workers’ comp attorney can help injured workers find and pursue the best available options.
Larrimer & Larrimer, LLC
– Columbus Workers’ Comp Lawyer