New Hazardous Materials Release Reporting Rules from the Chemical Safety Board

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The US Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) adopted new regulations (40 CFR part 1604) for reporting releases of hazardous materials, effective March 23, 2020. Under the new regulation, businesses must report any spills or releases that result in a death, serious injury, or substantial property damage to CSB within 8 hours. For those who have been following this issue, this is a change from the proposed regulation, which required reporting within 4 hours. Where applicable, multiple owners or operators may provide a consolidated report to CSB, as long as all reporting requirements are met. This initial report can be revised as needed for a 30 day period following the release. See https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2020/02/21/2020-02418/accidental-release-reporting for more information. What needs to be reported The report should contain the following:
  1. The name of, and contact information for, the owner/operator;
  2. The name of, and contact information for, the person making the report;
  3. The location information and facility identifier;
  4. The approximate time of the accidental release;
  5. A brief description of the accidental release;
  6. An indication whether one or more of the following has occurred:
    1. fire;
    2. explosion;
    3. death;
    4. (serious injury; or
    5. property damage.
  7. The name of the material(s) involved in the accidental release, the Chemical Abstract Service (CAS) number(s), or other appropriate identifiers;
  8. If known, the amount of the release;
  9. If known, the number of fatalities;
  10. If known, the number of serious injuries;
  11. Estimated property damage at or outside the stationary source;
  12. Whether the accidental release has resulted in an evacuation order impacting members of the general public and others, and, if known:
    1. (1) the number of persons evacuated;
    2. (2) approximate radius of the evacuation zone;
    3. (3) the type of person subject to the evacuation order (i.e., employees, members of the general public, or both).
If a report has already been made to the National Response Center (NRC) due to 40 CFR 302.6 reporting requirements and additional report does not need to be made to the CSB. Instead the CSB reporting requirement may be satisfied by submitting the NRC identification number to the CSB within 30 minutes of submitting a report to the NRC. Why are these requirements needed The CSB was required to create accidental release reporting requirements as part of Clean Air Act A(CAA) amendments in 1990. Initial rulemaking was started, but never completed and instead, CSB has relied on existing EPA release reporting requirements for notification. The current rulemaking originates from a recent lawsuit from environmental groups that led to a court order for the CSB to create a new release reporting regulation by 2020. Note that the CSB reporting requirements apply to spills or releases that result in a death, serious injury, or substantial property damage and state or local regulators may have lower thresholds for release reporting or require notification for spills that do not need to be reported to the CSB or NRC. If you have any questions about this, or any other environmental or workplace safety requirements, please contact us at [email protected]. – James Kapin, MPH, CIH, CSP Director of EM Services

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