As much as anything, the moral of the story regarding the recent West Virginia chemical spill is: Do you have a plan for a chemical emergency in your community or your company? The spill of 4-Methylcyclohexane Methanol, a chemical used in the coal industry, has raised health and environmental concerns in the community, but also raised questions about the availability of information to emergency responders and planners to deal with the situation to ensure both the short-term and long-term health of citizens.
There are regulatory provisions in place to support the community’s right to know where we do business. The Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) of 1986 was created to help communities plan for emergencies involving hazardous substances. EPCRA requires hazardous chemical emergency planning by federal, state and local governments, Indian tribes, and industry. It also requires industry to report on the storage, use and releases of hazardous chemicals to federal, state, and local governments. However, are these provisions being followed in practice? Online MSDS software and MSDS compliance services support this requirement by not only providing an up-to-date listing of chemicals on-site currently or approved to be on-site, but also support EPA requirements for meeting EPCRA reporting on an annual basis. Companies can simply provide access to the online SDS notebook to local municipalities to ensure that the most current information is available for emergency planning purposes. With respect to official Tier II reporting, the filing deadline for Tier II is March 1, so most companies are in preparation of the filing as we speak. Are you prepared?