ES&H Manual



6682 Beryllium Handling and Exposure



1.0            Introduction


Beryllium is used at the Laboratory in alloys and in pure and ceramic form for targets and various beamline components.  Beryllium can also be found in electronic devices such as rectifiers.  The materials containing beryllium at Jefferson Lab are considered to be “articles”, which should present no hazards under normal handling conditions.  This is because handling of solid components does not normally result in measurable airborne beryllium particulate.


This chapter contains the information necessary to limit employee exposure to beryllium, with special emphasis on preventing exposure to beryllium associated with non-routine conditions involving beryllium articles.


Table 1: Required Beryllium Safety Training by Job Classification

Training Course

Beryllium Worker

Beryllium Awareness



* Per ES&H Manual Chapter  6800 Appendix T1 Medical Monitoring


1.1              Jefferson Lab Beryllium Inventory

·         Copper beryllium alloys: used in the EEL building machine shop.

·         Targets and windows used in the beamline in the endstation halls.

·         Rectifiers: silicon controlled rectifiers used in rectifier banks in the Danfysik Magnet Box Power Supplies part 3 IRKT91-12.

·         Some radio frequency windows are made of beryllium oxide.  None of these are currently in use at the Laboratory.

·         Beryllium oxide is commonly used in high voltage semiconductor amplifiers.


1.2              Health Effects

Health effects associated with beryllium exposure can manifest in two ways: direct damage caused by the chemical toxicity of beryllium, and allergic reaction caused by the effect of beryllium on the immune system.  Not all individuals exposed to beryllium will suffer the allergic reaction; however those that do may have a delay of several years before the allergic reaction manifests.


1.3              Direct Chemical Toxic Effects

Beryllium contact with the skin is associated with ulcer formation.  Inhalation of high concentrations of beryllium in air is associated with acute beryllium disease.  Acute beryllium disease can cause chemical pneumonitis, similar to bronchitis or pneumonia.  This acute disease is very rare because of increased awareness/housekeeping programs now required in manufacturing.


1.4              Allergic Reaction

The allergic reaction is thought to occur in 1 to 6% of those exposed.  What initially occurs is sensitization.  Sensitization occurs after exposure, but may be delayed for years.  There is no disease state associated with sensitization.  It is important to identify sensitized individuals, however, because they are at high risk for contracting chronic beryllium disease.  Symptoms of chronic beryllium disease include, but are not limited to:

·         Cough

·         Wheezing

·         Fatigue

·         Fevers


It is important to note that beryllium sensitized individuals are not adequately protected by the exposure limits defined by OSHA in American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH); therefore they can no longer work with or be exposed to beryllium.  Recently, tests have become available which determine if sensitization has occurred.  For this reason it is imperative that any employee who thinks exposure may have occurred consult with Jefferson Lab Occupational Medicine.


2.0            Hazard Avoidance


·         Always wear protective gloves when handling exposed beryllium surfaces on targets.

·         Do not weld or machine beryllium.

·         Use local exhaust ventilation when machining beryllium copper alloys.

·         Notify Environmental, Safety, Health, and Quality (ESH&Q) if non-routine handling of beryllium articles is required.  Specific examples of such handling include:

o   targets that have been in the beam and show evidence of burn off of protective coatings

o   electronic components that have failed explosively, such as power supply rectifiers containing beryllium

·         Specify non-beryllium components where possible when ordering electronic components.


3.0            Responsibilities


Supervisors/Subcontracting Officer’s Technical Representatives (SOTRs)


ESH&Q Division Industrial Hygienist


ESH&Q Staff


Occupational Medicine


4.0            Qualifications

·         Anyone using or handling beryllium articles under non-routine conditions must:

o   complete beryllium hazard awareness training.

o   undergo medical evaluation if required, based on the task hazard analysis and results of beryllium monitoring.

o   conduct a hazard analysis of the work being done that presents a potential hazard of beryllium exposure.


5.0            Program Summary


5.1              Regulatory Limits

The permissible exposure limit (PEL) is an acceptable concentration of beryllium in air, averaged over an 8-hour workday.  The PEL is set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).  The action level is set in 10 CFR Part 850 Chronic Beryllium Disease Prevention Program.  The action level is a level that, if exceeded, requires implementation of specific worker protection measures, such as special hygiene facilities and periodic air monitoring.  The housekeeping level is a removable contamination level that must not be exceeded for non-beryllium work areas.


PEL:  2 μg/m3

Action level:  0.2 μg/m3

Housekeeping:  0.2 μg/100 cm2


5.2              Hazard Communication


All beryllium articles with exposed beryllium surfaces must be labeled with the beryllium warning sign.  The standard sign used for labeling of beryllium articles with exposed beryllium surfaces is:








Such articles must be inventory controlled and stored under lock and key.


5.3              Hazard Analysis

Handling and storage of beryllium articles at Jefferson Lab does not require a special work permit.  For those articles for which a non-routine exposure can be anticipated, based on past history or reasonable assumption, a hazard analysis is required.  See ES&H Manual Chapter 6682 Appendix T1 Sample Hazard Analysis for Beryllium Use for a sample hazard analysis.


5.4              Handling and Storing of Beryllium Articles

·         Beryllium articles are to be stored separately.

·         Handlers of articles containing exposed beryllium surfaces must wear protective gloves.


5.5              Welding and Machining of Beryllium

·         Welding beryllium is prohibited at Jefferson Lab.

·         Any machining of beryllium copper alloys must be performed with local exhaust ventilation using a High efficiency particulate air filtering system (HEPA) filter.

·         Any machining of beryllium articles that may result in the generation of dust requires a temporary operational safety procedure (TOSP), that will address the use of industry recognized controls such as ventilation control process (e.g., HEPA filter), enclosure (e.g., glove box isolation), or wet methods (e.g., wet cutting).


6.4       Housekeeping

Jefferson Lab does not have any beryllium work areas.  In areas where beryllium articles are in use, any surface contamination must be limited to 0.2 ìg/100 cm2.  If contamination is suspected, contact the Safety Lab for monitoring.


5.6              Response to Non-Routine Conditions Involving Beryllium Articles

To date, only two scenarios exist for non-routine conditions involving beryllium articles:

·         failure of silicon controlled rectifiers in a power supply box:

o    Power supply boxes which contain silicon controlled rectifiers known to contain beryllium oxide in the Accelerator Magnet power supply cabinets have been labeled as follows:


o   In the event of an explosive failure associated with the power supply, a beryllium cleanup kit must be used.  The kit contains personal protective equipment and a standard operating procedure (SOP).  The procedure must be followed until it is determined that the failure is not related to any beryllium article.

o   After use, the kit is to be disposed of by the Safety Lab.

o   Housekeeping monitoring must then be conducted by the Safety Lab.

·         Removal of beryllium window from the beamline, when window shows evidence of beam burning:


The beryllium window used at Jefferson Lab is protected with a coat of varnish.  The varnish is applied by the vendor, and is a protective barrier to prevent skin exposure to beryllium.  When the windows interact with the beam, depending on their location, the beam may burn off this protective barrier.  Actions required when this is observed:

·         Handle the target only while wearing protective gloves.

·         Cover the exposed beryllium surface with plastic and apply a beryllium warning sign to the plastic.

·         Immediately notify the Safety Lab for housekeeping monitoring.


5.7              Beryllium Cleanup/Recycling/Disposal

·        Beryllium cleanup must be performed according to a SOP by trained personnel.

·         In the absence of an SOP, cleanup may be performed by Radiation Worker II trained personnel who have had beryllium hazard awareness training.

·         Surface decontamination must be followed up by surface sampling.  The cleanup standard is 0.2 μg/100 cm2.


6.0            Revision Summary


Revision 0.1 – 05/20/14 – Added Required Safety Training Table.












ESH&Q Division

Jennifer Williams





This document is controlled as an on line file.  It may be printed but the print copy is not a controlled document.  It is the user’s responsibility to ensure that the document is the same revision as the current on line file.  This copy was printed on 5/16/2014.