The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has synchronized its five hazard categories for hazardous chemical inventory form reporting (Tier II) under 40 C.F.R. 370 with the hazard categories in the revised Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Hazard Communication Standard (HCS), effective January 1, 2018 for the 2017 reporting year. Facilities are now required to use the new hazard categories for reporting the hazardous associated with hazardous chemicals present onsite during the 2017 calendar year. This means that current safety data sheets (SDSs) will need to be reviewed to determine the corresponding hazards for chemicals reported. Chemical hazard information reported in prior years must be edited to select the new applicable physical and/or health hazards.
Previously, EPA’s only defined five hazard categories: fire, sudden release of pressure, reactivity, immediate (acute), and delayed (chronic). In accordance with the HCS, EPA’s new chemical physical and health hazard categories are expanded as follows:
Several other updates have been made to Tier II reporting that affect Reporting Year 2017, including:
- Requiring that “County” be noted for all facilities
- Requiring that “Type,” “Pressure,” and “Temperature” be indicated for all storage locations (even those marked confidential)
- Providing an import check for older MER files to warn users if there are record ID issues that must be resolved
- Providing an export check to warn users if the file contains invalid characters that would prevent an XML export file from being generated
- Incorporating 2017 North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes
- Adding “Outside Storage Pile” to the list of storage types
- Updating state-specific fields
EPA has modified its Tier2Submit software to address these changes, as have other Tier II reporting programs, including Tier 2 Manager and E-Plan. The newest version of Tier2Submit for the 2017 reporting year can be downloaded at https://www.epa.gov/epcra/tier2-submit-software. So, start early to give yourself time to review all applicable SDSs, contact suppliers if you don’t have SDSs that provide this information, and update your facility’s Tier2Submit data accordingly. Additionally, it should be noted that if any chemicals exceed a threshold reporting value during the year, the facility must submit SDSs or a list of these chemicals to their respective Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC), State Emergency Response Commission (SERC), and local fire department within three months of the exceedance, although some states have more stringent requirements.