Changes to Tier II Hazard Categories

Some of you might be asking yourself, “when did this happen”?  

While the Final Rule behind this change was effective June 13, 2016, the compliance date was pushed to January 1, 2018 in order to provide enough time for states (as well as EPA) to modify the software to incorporate the new hazard classes.

What prompted the change?

Soon after OSHA’s Hazardous Communication Standard (HCS) 2012 final rule was published, many stakeholders requested EPA adopt physical and health hazard classes as described in the revised HCS. The stakeholders expressed that, if the EPA adopted these physical and hazard classes, it would be less burdensome to:   1) The regulated community, as they would only need to copy the chemical hazard information from the MSDS (SDS), and 2) The implementing agencies, as they could more easily compare the hazard information provided on each SDS with the information provided on the list of hazardous chemicals and the inventory form.

What now?

Tier II Chemical Inventory Reports are required to be submitted to State Emergency Response commissions and Local Emergency Planning committees by March 1 of each year with information on chemicals stored on-site the previous year.  Due to changes in OSHA’s hazard definitions, EPA has revised the hazard categories that must be reported on Tier II.  These changes are effective for the Tier II reports due March 1, 2018 for reporting year 2017.

The previous 5 categories were acute health hazard, chronic health hazard, fire physical hazard, sudden release of pressure physical hazard, and reactive physical hazard.  The new categories are as follows:

Physical hazards:

Flammable (gases, aerosols, liquids, or solids)

Gas under pressure



Pyrophoric (liquid or solid)

Oxidizer (liquid, solid, or gas)

Organic peroxide


Pyrophoric gas

Corrosive to metal

In contact with water emits flammable gas

Combustible dust

Hazard Not Otherwise Classified

Health hazards:


Acute toxicity (any route of exposure)

Reproductive toxicity

Skin Corrosion or Irritation

Respiratory or Skin Sensitization

Serious eye damage or eye irritation

Specific target organ toxicity (single or repeated exposure)

Aspiration hazard

Gem cell mutagenicity

Simple asphyxiant

Hazard Not Otherwise Classified

Determining which category (or categories) to report will require reviewing the Safety Data Sheet (SDS) for each reported material.  This will take additional time beyond that already required to complete the report.

PPM has experience preparing Tier II’s and can assist in reviewing SDS to ensure that the correct hazard category is selected for each reported hazardous material. 

Contributed by Karen Brignac, Environmental Compliance Manager