Learn more about Chemicals & hazardous products compliance
Facilities that manufacture, use, or manage chemicals or hazardous materials must responsibly address the hazards posed by the chemicals or hazardous materials on site. Depending on the specific industrial activities occurring on site and the quantities and types of chemicals and hazardous materials present, facilities may have numerous federal environmental, health and safety requirementsto comply with.
Users of large quantities of chemicals and hazardous materials have a duty to inform their communities and local emergency responders of the dangers present on site by submitting a Tier II report notifying the local emergency authorities of the presence and location of large quantities of chemicals and hazardous materials under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA). Tier II reports are required when the chemical quantities on site exceed Tier II reporting thresholds. The EPCRA also requires facilities to annually report their Toxic Release Inventories on Form R when the chemicals on site exceed specific thresholds.
Facilities need to evaluate the chemical hazards and risks that they pose to workers and nearby communities. Highly hazardous chemicals pose a special threat and must be properly managed. OSHA’s Process Safety Management standard requires facilities to conduct a Process Hazard Analysis to manage the risks of using highly hazardous chemicals.
Facilities generating hazardous waste are required to minimize the threat that the hazardous waste poses to the environment, by properly handling, storing, and transferring the hazardous waste. Facilities generating larger quantities of hazardous waste are subject to stricter Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) requirements.
Facilities manufacturing chemicals must inform their users of the dangers associated with their chemicals. OSHA’s Hazard Communication standard, based on the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals, requires manufacturers and importers of chemicals to classify the chemical hazards and create information safety data sheets and chemical labels. The information must then be passed down to end-users of the chemicals to ensure that workers can protect themselves from any chemical hazards.
In addition to providing safety information, manufacturers must also any use-restrictions required by EPA and the Toxic Substances and Control Act (TSCA). New chemicals must be approved for production and use by EPA prior to manufacture. When manufacturing large quantities of chemicals, manufacturers are required to provide EPA with a Chemical Data Report.
Sites that have been contaminated or are likely to release chemicals that will contaminate the facility must be cleaned up pursuant to the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), commonly known as Superfund. The federal government has broad powers to remediate sites and require any Potentially Responsible Parties to contribute to the cleanup costs.
Employers using chemicals and hazardous materials in the workplace are subject to numerous OSHA requirements to protect workers from chemicals. Workers are limited in the chemical exposures permitted each work shift and must be able to identify and address any chemical hazards present in the workplace, through the use of , chemical labelings, signs, safety data sheets and training.
Employees engaged in hazardous waste operations, such as cleanup work, hazardous waste facility operations, or emergency responders must be properly trained to protect themselves from the elevated risks. Facilities must also develop plans and controls to address the risks present on site.