WASHINGTON – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has published an interim final rule that protects workers who report violations of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).

The final rule established procedures, burdens of proof, remedies and statutes of limitations that are similar to other whistleblower statutes, the agency said. Under FSMS's whistleblower protections, employees have 180 days to file a complaint against their employer. OSHA enforces whistleblower provisions of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and other laws that protect whistleblowers.

"FSMA, signed into law January 2011, provides employees who disclose information about a possible violation of the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act with protection against retaliation from businesses engaged in the manufacture, processing, packing, transporting, distribution, reception, holding or importation of food," the agency said in a news release.

OSHA is seeking public comment on the proposed final rule. The deadline to submit comments is April 14.