Over the years, the Beryllium Science and Technology Association (BeST) has worked to advance the science of beryllium health and safety to better protect beryllium workers, family members and the general public. It is expected the customers and users of beryllium containing materials will benefit from the creation of the Be Responsible Beryllium Product Stewardship Program that formally engages workers, trade unions and governmental authorities in a cooperative arrangement that seeks to continuously improve worker safety during the production and processing of beryllium-containing materials.
Recent studies have added considerable clarity as to what protective methods are reducing the risks associated with occupational exposures to beryllium. These studies have resulted in the development of a Beryllium Worker Protection Model (BWPM) which forms the basis for a Be Responsible Product Stewardship Program as an effective means to providing greater protection to workers. With such a program, greater risk reductions can be achieved at lower costs through a proactive voluntary program than can be achieved by regulations or restrictions.
BeST has the technical resources to effectively support Be Responsible and will actively seek and encourage buy-in from downstream users toward achieving a much higher level of worker protection. BeST is prepared to work with member state authorities in jointly offering technical assistance particularly to small businesses that may not have the technical resources available to them. BeST envisions a commitment toward continued working collaboration with trade unions, authorities, customers, downstream users, trade associations and other interested stakeholders.
Be Responsible is directed toward the processing and use of beryllium-containing alloys. It is well known that beryllium is a naturally occurring element and as a result, there are exposures in many industries not served by the beryllium industry. BeST does not have expertise in regards to exposures due to naturally occurring beryllium and takes no position on whether this program is appropriate or needed for the many industries having such exposures.
The members of BeST believe that the Be Responsible program addresses the key components necessary to achieve a high degree of safety for workers in the primary beryllium industry through downstream users of beryllium-containing materials. BeST recognizes that substantial uncontrolled workplace exposure to beryllium can present a potential health and safety hazard to employees. This program is intended to minimize any such potential hazard. BeST recognizes that it is prudent to adopt beryllium exposure controls where feasible and necessary, and that compliance with Be Responsible will reduce potential health risks in places of employment and other activities involving beryllium manufacturing or use. Further, BeST and regulatory authorities recognize that Be Responsible is an appropriate vehicle for encouraging the continued reduction of beryllium workplace exposures, at both manufacturing and end-user facilities, and that there are engineering controls, work practices and personal protective equipment readily known and available to implement the provisions of the Program. It is clear to the parties involved with this initiative that innovative, out of the box thinking, coupled with the total involvement of the workforce sets the stage for a firm commitment to eliminate CBD.