Under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations, employers must maintain a Safety Data Sheet (SDS; formerly referred to as an MSDS) for any hazardous chemicals stored or used in the work place. Over 650,000 products have SDSs/MSDSs. Section 311 of SARA Title III requires facilities that have SDSs for chemicals held in excess of 10,000 pounds to submit either copies of their SDSs/MSDSs or a list of these hazardous chemicals as specified below. If the facility owner or operator chooses to submit a list of hazardous chemicals, the list must include the chemical or common name of each substance and identify the applicable hazard categories. These hazard categories are:

  • Immediate (acute) health hazard;
  • Delayed (chronic) health hazard;
  • Fire hazard;
  • Sudden release of pressure hazard;
  • Reactive hazard.

Pennsylvania facilities covered by the federal OSHA Hazard Communication Standard must file a Tier II form:

  • Initially within 5 business days (Section 205 of PA Act 165) after the hazardous chemical is first present at the facility. Accordingly, facilities have to submit a Tier II reporting form and site plan to PA Labor & Industry (as well as to their LEPC and local fire department) if they bring on any new hazardous chemical meeting the established threshold requirements that had not been reported during the previous calendar year.
  • Annually on or before March 1st for the prior year’s inventory of subject hazardous chemicals.

Tier II reporting criteria is as follows:

  1. Extremely Hazardous Substances (EHSs), as identified under Section 302, in quantities at or above the Threshold Planning Quantities (TPQs), or 500 pounds (whichever is less); and/or;
  2. Hazardous chemicals, regulated by the federal OSHA Hazard Communication Standard (i.e. for which a facility has an SDS/MSDS), which are present at a facility at or above 10,000 pounds at any one time during the calendar year.

Tier II forms provide the following information for each substance:

  • The chemical name or common name as indicated on the SDS/MSDS;
  • An estimate of the maximum amount of the chemical present at any time during the preceding calendar year and the average daily amount;
  • A brief description of the manner of storage of the chemical;
  • The location of the chemical at the facility;
  • An indication of whether the owner elects to withhold location information from disclosure to the public.

In Pennsylvania the Tier II form is available for electronic (preferred) or paper submission. Detailed information on the Pennsylvania Tier II reporting system can be found at http://www.lepc.org/PATTS.html

Reporting Fee Requirements in Pennsylvania

  • A facility required to file a Tier II form under SARA Title III shall pay a state fee of $10.00 per chemical, unless otherwise exempted by Act 165.
  • A Delaware County county-assessed fee of $75 for each chemical reported and a one time “planning” fee of $100 if one or more EHS are reported.

Exemptions to Reporting Requirements

Facilities not covered by the federal OSHA Hazard Communication Standard, such as public sector employers (i.e., state and local governments, public schools and public universities and private sector mining industry employers (except for oil and gas extraction)), are not required to file Tier II forms.

Facilities which are covered by the federal OSHA Hazard Communication Standard that do not have an EHS at or above the TPQ or 500 pounds (whichever is less), and which do not have any OSHA hazardous chemicals at or above 10,000 pounds, are not required to file a Tier II form.

The following items are exempt from Tier II reporting requirements:

Products regulated by the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

  1. Articles.
  2. Household packaged products.
  3. Substances used in research and development labs, hospitals or other medical facilities.
  4. Substances used in routine agricultural operations.
  5. Fertilizers held for sale by retailers.
  6. Retail service stations (Gasoline 75,000 and Diesel 100,000)

Exemptions to Fee Requirements

Facilities owned by federal, state and local governments are not required to pay fees under PA Act 165.

Family farm enterprises and service stations, including auto body repair shops, are not required to pay fees under Act 165, but are required to file reports if the criteria described above are met.

Gasoline/Diesel Fuel Reporting –

EPA raised the thresholds that trigger 312 reporting requirements for gasoline and diesel fuel stored entirely underground at retail gas stations that comply with requirements for underground storage tanks (UST’s new threshold levels are 75,000 gallons for gasoline and 100,000 for diesel fuel). These reporting levels will relieve most retail gas stations from reporting gasoline and diesel fuel under EPCRA.

Penalties

Any owner or operator who violates any Tier II reporting requirements shall be liable to the United States for a civil penalty of up to $27,500 for each such violation. Each day a violation continues shall constitute a separate violation.