Environmental, Workplace & Transportation Regulations that Impact Animal Food Manufacturers
The Donald Trump administration pledged a broad deregulatory agenda when coming into office in 2017. In keeping with that promise, it has proposed changes in a number of environmental, workplace and transportation policies. The American Feed Industry Association has been tracking a few noteworthy rule changes and pending decisions that are relevant for animal food manufacturers and throughout the animal food supply chain. Some of these are outlined below:
Environmental Protection Agency
- Combustible Dust Reporting under EPCRA Tier II Reporting – EPA’s 2016 revisions to the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA) went into effect in early 2018. The new Tier II reporting form requires facilities to report combustible dust to align the EPA with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Hazard Communication Standard. Many parties have disagreed on the proper approach to reporting, and AFIA provided preliminary guidance to the industry before the new Tier II reporting deadline on March 1. AFIA has continued its discussions with the EPA to ensure there is a uniform and agreed-upon approach for reporting combustible dust in the future.
- “Waters of the U.S.” (WOTUS) Rule – A highly visible and top priority for U.S. agriculture, EPA’s revised WOTUS rule is still being reviewed by White House officials. The package is slated for release by the EPA for public comments in the fall of 2018. In the meantime, major litigation is playing out in multiple federal courts on some controversial issues, including the status of the former Obama-era WOTUS rule and the legality of and timing of the Trump administration’s replacement process.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration
Electronic Reporting Rule – OSHA set a July 1 deadline for accepting calendar year 2017 Form 300A injury and illness reports. The deadline for electronic submission of Form 300As for calendar year 2018 will be March 2, 2019. A major legal challenge to the rule was ongoing as of midsummer, and OSHA had not revealed whether it will rescind the whistleblower and anti-retaliation provisions of the rule, issues which are highly problematic and burdensome for the industry.
In late July, OSHA also proposed an amendment to the original rule rescinding the requirement for companies with more than 250 employees to file forms 300 and 301 electronically.
- Safety Data Sheets for Animal Food Products – The AFIA staff is participating in an International Feed Industry Federation working group to propose an international recommendation on the implementation of the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) for the animal food industry. The purported goal of the GHS is for global manufacturers to use the same set of criteria to classify chemical hazards and communicate relevant health and safety information on product labels and safety data sheets. Animal food products and ingredients may require safety data sheets and hazard communication labeling and there are still some differences in how the GHS is interpreted globally for the animal food industry.
Department of Transportation
- FMCSA Guidance on Agricultural Commodities – On May 31, 2018, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced the notice of regulatory guidance to clarify the applicability of the agricultural commodity exception in the hours of service regulations in 49 CFR Part 395. The majority of what is transported in the animal food industry does not fit the definition of “agricultural commodities,” but rather in the definition of “farm supplies for agricultural purposes,” as written in the regulations.