Understanding FIFRA and Hazard Communication RequirementsMarch 13, 2019
Workers whose jobs involve coming in contact with potentially hazardous chemicals and other such materials must take the appropriate precautions when working with, or in the vicinity of, these materials.
In order to avoid serious injuries or illnesses that can be caused by many of these chemicals, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) outlined a set of regulations that employees must follow, which include pesticide labeling requirements and hazard communication requirements.
Despite there being key differences between these, they do overlap in several places as well.
Pesticide Labeling Requirements and Hazard Communication Requirements
In a Letter of Interpretation (LOI), OSHA addressed questions about specific labeling requirements. For example, OSHA was asked whether commercial fertilizer products, minimum-risk pesticides, spray adjuvants, and those that are intended for agricultural or commercial use are required to meet the same labeling requirements as the hazard communication standard.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) oversees the pesticide regulation process under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), which governs the registration, distribution, sale, and use of pesticides in the United States. The majority of agricultural, commercial, and consumer pesticides must be registered with the EPA.
There are a number of minimum risk pesticides that do not need to be registered with the EPA but are still subject to FIFRA labeling requirements. These include citric acid, corn gluten, garlic, and mint oil.
According to OSHA, since fertilizers, minimum-risk pesticides, and spray adjuvants must meet the EPA’s labeling requirements under FIFRA, they are not required to meet OSHA’s labeling requirements under the hazard communication standard.
Spray adjuvant, which can make the active ingredient in a spray solution more effective, includes the following materials:
- Anti-foaming materials
- Crop oils
- Spreader stickers
Hazard Communication Standard
Safety data sheets (SDS) must be prepared for fertilizers, minimum-risk pesticides, and spray adjuvants, according to the hazard communication standard. However, according to OSHA officials, consumer products and hazardous substances that are covered by the Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA) and Federal Hazardous Substances Act (FHSA) are not subject to the hazard communication standard’s labeling requirements.
All employers have a responsibility to provide safe work environments for their employees, and to prevent exposure to potentially harmful substances and materials. They also have a responsibility to comply with the safety regulations set forth by OSHA and the EPA, based on the type of material and how it will be used.
Employees should receive ongoing training and be provided with the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) and other safety gear when using potentially harmful or toxic materials.
Currently, only 26 states in the continental United States have workplace safety and health programs separate from federal programs.
Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Represent Victims of Exposure to Toxic Chemicals
If you or a loved one have been seriously injured, or your health compromised due to a workplace accident involving toxic chemicals or anything else, it is in your best interest to contact the Baltimore Workers’ Compensation lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton at your earliest convenience. We will investigate the details of your case and determine whether your employer was in compliance with the appropriate safety standards. A failure to do so can jeopardize the safety of the worksite and create a potentially hazardous environment. We will protect your rights and ensure that you receive the maximum financial benefits you deserve. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 844-556-4LAW (4529) or contact us online. We serve clients in Baltimore and throughout Maryland.