OSHA Safety Data Sheets (SDS)… formerly known as MSDS… what do employers need to do?

“The Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) (29 CFR 1910.1200(g)), revised in 2012, requires that the chemical manufacturer, distributor, or importer provide Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) (formerly MSDSs or Material Safety Data Sheets) for each hazardous chemical to downstream users to communicate information on these hazards.” The link below is an OSHA publication that explains the 16 part form of an SDS and is an important training tool for users of these documents.


Employer Responsibilities

Employers must ensure that the SDSs are readily accessible to employees for all hazardous chemicals in their workplace. This may be done in many ways. For example, employers may keep the SDSs in a binder or on computers as long as the employees have immediate access to the information without leaving their work area when needed and a back-up is available for rapid access to the SDS in the case of a power outage or other emergency. Furthermore, employers may want to designate a person(s) responsible for obtaining and maintaining the SDSs. If the employer does not have an SDS, the employer or designated person(s) should contact the manufacturer to obtain one.

How does CFD facilitate the collection of information?

Our website includes a link to SDS forms for most products we sell and we are working on updating this information for all products that require them. The following is an example of the location on our website:

As you approach the requirement to create a Feed Safety Plan one of the things you will need to do is to identify and address ingredient hazards. Collecting Product tags and SDS may be a way to satisfy two requirements in one. This is something you could start in the coming months in preparation for creating the plan.


OSHA FSMA Whistle Blower Protection

FSMA added to the list of 22 programs now afforded Whistleblower Protection by the US Department of Labor under OSHA.

AFIA wrote about this topic in a FSMA update last May, summarizing as follows:

Labor Department Issues New FSMA Rule to Protect Workers from Retaliation”

… On April 15, the Department of Labor issued a final whistleblower rule through its Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The rule implements an otherwise obscure provision of FSMA that some companies may overlook at their peril.


Spelling Out Steps for Processing a Complaint

Section 402 of FSMA spells out requirements aimed at ensuring workers across the supply chain–from manufacturers to retailers–are protected from retaliation by their employers for “blowing the whistle” on illegal activity. OSHA’s new rule spells out several things, including how employees should file complaints for retaliation, what steps companies and the government must take in response to a complaint and what the burden of proof is for bringing a successful action.


One of the most important aspects of the rule to keep in mind is that employees who file complaints under the new rule are protected if they have a “”reasonable belief,” which is defined in the new regulation as a “subjective, good faith belief and an objectively reasonable belief,”” the conduct they are complaining about violates the law.” (AFIA FSMA Update May 4, 2016)


An OSHA fact sheet on “Filing Whistleblower Complaints under the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act” can be found at https://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3714.pdf