Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Materion Beryllium

Materion Beryllium

We visited Materion in Elmore, OH. They manufacture beryllium alloys. The tour they provided gave us an opportunity to see their products manufactured. These include beryllium alloys that are made into strip coils, wires, and rods, bars, and tubes. They do not manufacture any particular end-product, but the beryllium alloys materials are included in many of the products we use and are used across the globe. These include computers and cell phones, and in the oil and gas, and aerospace industries.  Throughout the visit, we saw how they address safety and health issues of their workforce.  Most of our group were in personal protective equipment, including tyvek suits, powered air purifying respirators, and hearing protection.  They visited areas that had the potential for exposure. Others visited areas that did not require the use of respiratory protection.

The Materion tour allows us to see how workers are protected with PPE and engineering controls, so that exposure to hazardous materials is minimized or eliminated.  Thanks to our hosts at Materion for providing this opportunity for our visit.


Jeff Huth said...

The tour of the berylium plant gave us a first hand view of the challenges in protecting workers from ultra low quantities of toxic agents. Chronic beryllium disease starts with sensitization of with very low levels of skin contact. Some individuals who become sensitized go on to develop a disease much like sarcoidosis that results in systemic pathology including lung fibrosis. Preventive strategies to prevent skin contact and use of respirators to prevent inhalation in high risk work environments are key to limiting the number of workers who go on to develop chronic beryllium disease. In the future, immunological profiling such as HLA typing may identify those workers at excessive risk.

Anonymous said...

As Jeff stated above, it is wonderful to know that Materion takes many proactive steps not only to lower the risk of exposures to their employees but they have documentation to prove that these preventive measures have resulted in having very low rates of sensitization among their employees