Tier II reporting is a regulatory requirement by the EPA and falls under the U.S. Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA). Submission of Tier II form is required under Sections 311 and 312. Submissions are due no later than March 1, 2022, and failure to file may result in heavy fines based on violations. Some states have statutes that address and define penalties for non-compliance.
What is EPA Tier II Reporting?
Tier II reporting aims to provide state and local officials and the public with specific information on potential hazards. It provides a method of tracking hazardous materials and how they are stored. This includes the locations, and the amount of hazardous chemicals present at your facility during the previous calendar year. This information is valuable to first responders, fire departments, and local authorities when responding to an incident such as a fire or chemical spill. In an emergency, knowing the hazardous materials on-site can provide quick and effective responses keeping the company and the community safe.
What are SDSs and MSDSs?
OSHA defines Safety Data Sheets (SDSs), formerly known as MSDSs or Material Safety Data Sheets, as documentation used for each hazardous chemical to communicate information on these hazards. The information contained in the SDS is largely the same as the MSDS, except now the SDSs are required to be presented in a consistent, user-friendly, 16-section format.
The SDS includes information such as the properties of each chemical; the physical, health, and environmental health hazards; protective measures; and safety precautions for handling, storing and transporting the chemical.
Who should file a Tier II report?
Facilities with hazardous materials on-site and are above the threshold amounts are subject to filing the Tier II report. The thresholds are the maximum quantity on-site at any one time during the previous calendar year. Different hazardous chemicals have different thresholds. Some examples are:
- Facilities with 500 pounds or Threshold Planning Quantity of highly hazardous substances whichever is less
- 10,000-pound threshold for other OSHA hazardous chemicals
- Gasoline and diesel have their separate threshold levels
All quantities must be accounted for, including raw materials and mixtures for in-process products, completed manufacturing waste, and storage.
Are there differences between state and federal Tier II reporting requirements?
Yes, some states may have specific requirements for reporting and submitting the Tier II inventory form and the state reporting form or format. EPA suggests that facilities contact their state for state-specific reporting requirements.
Are there any exclusions and exemptions from Tier II reporting?
Yes, hazardous chemicals are excluded if used for personal or household purposes or are present in the same concentration as used by the public. Use on the following scenarios are also excluded:
- Used in a research laboratory, hospital, or another medical facility.
- FDA regulated food, food additives, cosmetics, and drugs (medication).
- Used in routine agriculture operations or are fertilizers.
- Present as a solid in any manufactured item “to the extent that exposure to the substance does not occur under normal conditions of use.”
In addition, “normal conditions of use” must meet the following criteria:
- The substance is a solid – gases and liquids are not covered.
- The substance is a manufactured item
- Exposure to substances does not occur under normal conditions of use.
As noted, retail gas stations are not exempt from Tier II reporting, but they have higher thresholds. The higher thresholds only apply to retail facilities that mainly sell gasoline and diesel fuel to the public for motor vehicle use on land. Farms that use gas or diesel fuel to run farm machinery may be eligible for the exemption for a substance to the extent it is used in routine agricultural operations (EPCRA section 311(e)(5), 40 CFR 370.13(c)(3)).
What items are commonly overlooked?
- Sulfuric acid in lead-acid batteries is common in forklifts. For example, you must account for all the forklifts in your facility. A low threshold of sulfuric acid requires special attention to quantities stored on-site.
- Bulk fuel storage
- Chemicals stored throughout the entire facility – oils used in equipment, compressed gas cylinders, etc.
Where do I begin the Tier II reporting process?
In most situations, Tier II reporting has been performed annually. Check to see if there are previous EPA Tier II Reports in-house. Print out the previous Tier II Reports and compare them with the current storage and quantity of chemicals in your Facility. Your purchasing department or inventory manager may have records to assist in compiling the chemicals and quantities ordered and currently available on site.
Preparation is vital, and consistent documentation makes this process smooth and easy. Develop a comprehensive Chemical Inventory Management System. It’s essential to have detailed records of what is being stored in your Facility.
However, if this is your first time, we strongly recommend viewing the online EPA tutorial at https://www.epa.gov/epcra for details.
What do I submit with the Tier II Report?
Notification and copies of the report go to State Emergency Response Commission (SERC), Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC), and your local fire departments. The report will include:
- An initial set of Safety Data Sheets
- The detailed facility map with the location of chemicals marked
- GPS Coordinates (electronic software makes this easier to comply with)
NOTE: Some States accept the EPA Tier II Reporting Software; some don’t. Check https://www.epa.gov/epcra for more information. Filing online can result in errors and incomplete filing submissions. Be sure to keep and file an acknowledgment of your Tier II report submission.
We can help.
Catamount Consulting is a national safety training and consulting firm providing comprehensive on and off-site training in all facets of MSHA, OSHA, and Firearms safety.
Our safety education courses and services are customized to meet clients’ needs and help achieve optimum health, safety, and human performance. Special thanks to Joe Keenan, MBA, CSP, for his expertise on Tier II Reporting. To view the webinar, click here.
Contact us to learn more about our educational webinars or to speak with a member of our team.