Frequent Questions

Tier II reporting for agricultural dusts and agricultural products handled in powdered form (i.e. combustible dust)

EPCRA Section 312 requires facility owners or operators to submit annual chemical inventory reports (Tier I/Tier II Forms) for any OSHA defined hazardous chemical subject to OSHA's Hazard Communication Standard (29 CFR section 1910.1200) when present at a facility above threshold amounts at any one time during the previous calendar year (40 CFR section 370.10).  Are facilities required to submit chemical inventory reports for agricultural dusts or agricultural products that are handled in powdered form?  If so, how should the facility report these substances on the Tier II form?

OSHA defines hazardous chemical to mean any chemical which is classified as a physical hazard or a health hazard, a simple asphyxiant, combustible dust, pyrophoric gas, or hazard not otherwise classified (29 CFR 1910.1200(c)).  Examples of combustible dusts are available on the following OSHA Web sites:  https://www.osha.gov/Publications/combustibledustposter.pdf and https://www.osha.gov/dsg/combustibledust/index.html.  OSHA’s website lists certain agricultural dusts and agricultural products that are handled in powdered form as combustible dusts which may have a potential for explosion.  If a facility handles such substances, those substances must be reported on the Tier II form if they equal or exceeds the applicable threshold.  Facility owners and operators can use their best professional judgment or engineering calculations to determine the amount of dust present at their facility when making threshold determinations and when calculating amounts to include on the Tier II chemical inventory form (e.g., maximum amount and average amount on site).

If a facility determines the substances are below the applicable threshold for combustible dust, EPA encourages facilities to submit voluntarily, Tier II chemical inventory forms to inform emergency planners and responders of the presence of dusts at the facility due to the physical hazards associated with such substances.  Facilities voluntarily reporting combustible dust do not need to report any amounts on the Tier II form; however, they should check the “Below Reporting Threshold” checkbox. 

Note that some states require facilities to report the actual amount of hazardous chemical present on site instead of reporting the amount in ranges on the federal Tier II reporting form.  EPA encourages facilities to contact their state for specific reporting requirements. 

Substances that are regulated as food or food additive by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are exempted from the definition of hazardous chemical. Facilities are encouraged to consult the following websites for FDA guidelines.

 

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