DOE & BAWR Initiative

DOE Mission

Introduction

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has the responsibility to protect the health and safety of DOE employees, contractors, and subcontractors. The Office of the Associate Under Secretary for Environment, Health, Safety and Security (EHSS) provides the federal-level leadership and strategic vision necessary to establish clear expectations for health, safety, environment, and security programs. In support of this mission, the Office of Health and Safety (EHSS-10) collects, analyzes, and disseminates data and performance indicators, such as beryllium health and exposure information for individuals potentially at risk for chronic beryllium disease due to their work at DOE facilities.

The DOE Beryllium-Associated Worker Registry (BAWR) is a complex-wide internal program to help DOE conduct and improve its Chronic Beryllium Disease Prevention Program (CBDPP), the purpose of which is to protect workers from the adverse health effects of exposure to beryllium. The U.S. Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Title 10, part 850 Chronic Beryllium Disease Prevention Program (10 CFR 850) requires DOE sites to inventory and assess beryllium exposure hazards and transmit all records generated as required by this rule to DOE. Established in 2002, the BAWR is the repository for these data and contains information from more than 30 DOE facility reporting organizations, both active and inactive. Data from the BAWR and the annual summary reports were included in the Federal Register on June 7, 2016 in support of proposed amendments to 10 CFR 850. These recent proposed changes to the rule, reflecting DOE’s goals to achieve aggressive reduction and minimization of worker exposures to airborne beryllium, will further strengthen the current CBDPP, worker protection programs, and reporting of affected workers.

Background

The Department of Energy and Department of Defense (DOD) have historically been some of the largest users of beryllium. Since the early 1940s, many thousands of workers at DOE and DOD plants or facilities have worked with beryllium and had the potential for exposure. These U.S. departments have also been among the most involved groups in the study of beryllium and its possible health effects, and the DOE took steps to initiate a comprehensive beryllium worker health program. Following years of aggressive data collection and analysis of beryllium activities, exposure measurements, and disease occurrence, a public notice of intent to establish a chronic beryllium disease prevention program was published in 1998 (63 FR 66940). Within the notice of intent, DOE requested comments, data, and any other relevant information from the public and industry for consideration in developing the beryllium worker health program. Following receipt and consideration of numerous comments and other relevant information, DOE published the final rule of 10 CFR part 850 Chronic Beryllium Disease Prevention Program in 1999. DOE issued a comprehensive implementation guide (DOE G 440.1-7) to assist line managers in meeting responsibilities required by the CBDPP in 1997 and updated it in 2001. In 2006, DOE published 10 CFR part 851, a final rule establishing and implementing a formal worker safety and health program (WSHP) which also included some updating of the CBDPP. The WSHP, including the amendments to the CBDPP Rule, went into effect in 2007.

History and Introduction of the BAWR Initiative

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Beryllium-Associated Worker Registry (BAWR) was established to meet the requirements of 10 CFR 850 enacted in December 1999 and has been in operation since 2002. It is a collection of health and exposure information of individuals potentially at risk for chronic beryllium disease (CBD) due to their work at DOE-owned or leased facilities.

The DOE Office of Domestic and International Health Studies supports the operation of a surveillance registry of current workers who are exposed to beryllium in their current job, or may have been exposed to beryllium in the past from work conducted at a DOE site. Data reported electronically to the BAWR are analyzed and summarized to help DOE accomplish several goals. One goal of the Registry is to determine the incidence and prevalence of beryllium sensitization and CBD. The data are analyzed to help better understand CBD and to identify those at risk. Another goal is to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of DOE's Chronic Beryllium Disease Prevention Program. And a third goal is to provide data and analyses to help answer questions posed by DOE Headquarters (and other agencies) regarding, for example, the effects of lowering established personal exposure limits.

Regulations, Standards, and Specifications

CFR 10 Part 850

Title 10, Code of Federal Regulations, part 850 (10 C.F.R. 850), "Chronic Beryllium Disease Prevention Program," requires DOE sites to inventory and assess beryllium exposure hazards to determine whether employees are at risk for CBD. Sites that determine employees are at risk due to ongoing or past work must implement CBD prevention programs that include reporting health and exposure data to the DOE Beryllium-Associated Worker Registry. Health data are collected through the operation of medical surveillance programs for current workers. Exposure data are collected through the operation of industrial hygiene programs at sites that have continuing beryllium operations.

Standards and Specifications

Beryllium-Associated Worker Registry Data Collection and Management Guidance, DOE-STD-1187-2019 is a technical standard which provides acceptable methods for compliance with the requirements of Title 10 Code of Federal Regulations, Part 850.39 (10 CFR 850.39) “Recordkeeping and Use of Information.” It should be used by responsible employers subject to the requirements of 10 CFR 850 “Chronic Beryllium Disease Prevention Program” to guide their submission of information to the Department of Energy (DOE) Beryllium-Associated Worker Registry. Use of this standard promotes consistent reporting and efficient analysis and dissemination of information to those who need to know. It supersedes DOE-STD-1187-2007, dated June 2007.

Beryllium Lymphocyte Proliferation Testing (BeLPT) Technical Specification, DOE-SPEC-1142-2019 is a specification for beryllium lymphocyte proliferation tests (BeLPTs) used for detecting whether an individual has developed a sensitization to beryllium and for clinical evaluation and diagnosis of patients for CBD. (However, a lung biopsy is needed to fully establish the presence of CBD.) This specification should be used in all contracts with laboratories for the purchase of BeLPT Services. It supersedes DOE-SPEC-1142-2001, dated May 2001.