It is a safety and health best management practice to have safety data sheets (SDS) for all chemicals and pesticides used in a grower's operation. In regards to the Worker Protection Standard (WPS), producers that employ at least one or more non-family relatives are required to have SDSs for all pesticides used in their operation.
If an operation has 11 or more non-family employees (at any one time during a given year), SDSs are required under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for all chemicals.
Examples of chemicals that require SDSs include fuels, lubricants, sanitizers and disinfectants, and paints.
For both WPS and OSHA, the SDS is informational and must be accessible by employees. It is recommended that growers keep the SDS and the pesticide label together. In the event of an emergency, the SDS and pesticide label should be taken to the medical facility with the person who was exposed to the pesticide.
In regards to training, the WPS requires that workers and handlers be trained, in a manner that they understand, about the purpose of SDSs and where they are located. For operations that employee 11 or more people and therefore are under OSHA, the minimum training requires employers to train on the following:
- Label elements (product identifier, signal word, pictogram, hazard statement(s), precautionary statement(s), and contact information for chemical manufacturer, distributor or importer)
- Employer use of labels in the workplace (ensure proper storage and first aid information)
- General understanding of the elements on the label (multiple hazards of a chemical, pictograms, and precautionary statements)
- Training on the SDS format (standardized 16-section format and specifically Section 8 - Exposure Controls/Personal Protection)
- Relationship between the information on the label and how it relates to the SDS
Training resources, English and Spanish, can be found at the OSHA Hazard Communication website, under "Safety Data Sheets."
For more information about complying with the Worker Protection Standard revisions or to schedule a visit, contact Jim Harvey, Rural Health Farm Worker Protection Safety Specialist, via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone: 814-863-8565.
OSHAFactSheet: December 1st, 2013 training requirements for the revised hazard communication standard. (2013) United States Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration.