Pop quiz:

  • What’s a hazardous chemical?
  • What’s an extremely hazardous substance (EHS)? And what’s a threshold planning quantity (TPQ)?
  • In 2012, did you store at your facility more than 10,000 pounds of a hazardous chemical, or more than 500 pounds of an EHS? Or an EHS in exceedance of the TPQ?
  • Have you provided copies of the material safety data sheets (MSDSs) for those chemicals to your local fire department, state emergency response commission (SERC) and local emergency planning committee (LEPC)?
  • Do you know what a “Tier II” form is?  Are you ready to file yours by March 1?

If you could answer all of those questions with confidence, and for the yes/no questions, you answered “yes,” you can stop reading. If you didn’t, here’s a quick primer.

Hazardous chemicals are substances for which you are required to maintain an MSDS under OSHA’s Hazardous Communication standard; there is no list, if a substance has an MSDS, it’s a hazardous chemical.  EHS are a subset of hazardous chemicals: the list and corresponding TPQs can be found at 40 CFR section 355, Appendix A and Appendix B.

If your facility stores more than 10,000 pounds of a hazardous chemical, EPCRA Section 311 requires that you provide a copy of the MSDS for each, or a list of the hazardous chemicals, to your local fire department, SERC and LEPC. The same requirement applies to storage of an EHS over the TPQ or 500 pounds.  The purpose is to ensure that the fire department knows what chemicals it might encounter when responding to an emergency.  This is a one-time obligation, required within 3 months of reaching the threshold.

Annually, by March 1, you are also required to file an inventory report with the fire department, SERC and LEPC.  Most states require the more detailed “Tier II” form, rather than the summary Tier I form.  Click here for a link to each state’s filing requirements.

These requirements apply to any facility with hazardous chemicals or EHS above the thresholds; there is no exemption for small companies.

Resources:  Local Emergency Planning Committees in Connecticut. In Massachusetts and New York, contact your fire department or town officials to get the LEPC contact.