Facilities that store and manage extremely hazardous chemicals (EHS) are subject to EPCRA Tier II reporting requirements and must submit Safety Data Sheets and inventory information to the SERC, LEPC, and the local fire department. These essential documents provide emergency planners and responders with the information they need to effectively and safely respond to an emergency at their facility.

To get the information needed for timely chemical inventory reporting for Tier II compliance, accurate and well-managed Safety Data Sheets are needed. Unfortunately, many EHS professionals are still spending much of their time digging through emails, spreadsheets, and binders filled with dusty, outdated SDSs that don’t provide the crucial information facilities and first responders need.

Thankfully, cutting through the chaos and bringing clarity to managing and updating Tier II Safety Data Sheets is possible. When EHS teams centralize and digitize the information enterprise-wide, they say goodbye to the never-ending struggle of SDS management and give stakeholders at every level the ability to access the information where and when they need it.

Organizations that digitize their Tier II Safety Data Sheets will see these five benefits.

1. Gain quicker access to safety data sheets

If an EHS managers’ SDS library consists of scattered paper trails that live in physical binders or PDFs, spread across personal computers and email, they’re more likely to get a paper cut or a headache than find the information they need as quickly as they need it. These issues only grow for larger organizations with many facilities scattered across multiple states. However, when SDS management is digitized, everything is centralized in one searchable location, so stakeholders can have ready access to the information they need instantly and not waste time looking for data that is misplaced.

2. Report clean, accurate Tier II safety data sheets

Many EHS teams that still maintain a paper-based SDS library are in rough shape and most likely have repetitive or outdated documents. Over time, chemical manufacturers may adjust or add new chemicals to the composition of their products. Without the most recent SDS, their company may be under or over-reporting existing chemicals or not reporting new additions.

Unfortunately, traditional SDS management systems offer no easy way to clean up and update Tier II chemical inventories, especially across the entire organization and multiple facilities. However, duplicates and outdated documents are easier to spot when digitized, leading to a cleaner, more compliant SDS that is ready to submit. Accurate SDS reporting also means providing emergency planners and first responders with timely and correct data that will allow them to protect lives, manage panic, and provide effective communication if an emergency incident ever arises.

3. Pull and update safety data sheets in bulk

Pulling and updating SDS information in bulk is challenging when everything is on paper, but even when using PDFs. Often EHS managers must open every SDS to find the information they need. Using specialized SDS management systems that centralizes and standardizes a company’s chemical product library simplifies those tasks necessary for Tier II compliance.

Also, as new chemicals arrive and others are used up or moved out, digitizing and centralizing the product library provides EHS teams visibility over the chemicals they have on site. Now they can keep a closer, more accurate account of changes to chemical thresholds in real-time, throughout the year, instead of checking PDFs individually.

4. Improve communication and collaboration

Because SDSs are not connected between systems used within an organization, EHS managers often need to download from one system to upload to another. This movement creates the unintended risk of developing inaccurate copies of SDSs, a compliance risk. Digital SDS management systems allow for intercommunication between systems, eliminating this issue.

5. Minimize time-consuming administrative tasks and errors

EHS managers must continuously monitor product inventory to comply with changing thresholds and requirements for chemical reporting for Tier II. Unfortunately, many do this by manually opening each SDS to get the needed information. Not only is this time-consuming, but it also runs the risk of incorrect hand-entered data. Digital SDS management systems have the ability to integrate data from various systems into a single source, take the human factor out, and provide users with data they can feel confident about.

A modern solution to an age-old problem

SDS digitization makes Tier II reporting faster, simpler, and more accurate by centralizing and standardizing a company’s chemical product library to ensure EPCRA compliance. Learn more about Encamp’s EPCRA Solution that streamlines and automates 302 notifications, 311 notifications, and Tier II reporting.

Transforming compliance

Encamp is on a mission to create a world where good for business can equal good for the environment. We help enterprises transform compliance programs and human processes into a technology-driven system that lays the foundation for accurate and ongoing environmental compliance through a blended method of intelligent high-tech solutions and high-touch expert support.

“When you start getting into SERCs and LEPCs and their ever-changing requirements (for Tier II reporting), it’s almost impossible to keep up. And if you’re filing Tier II reports in 30 or 40 different states, you’re dealing with 30 or 40 different state systems. You have to figure out a better way to organize that data and information and be able to manage it consistently, repeatedly.” – Denton Bruce, Senior Director of EHS for Bunzl Distribution

Watch the webinar on-demand

Three Takeaways to Make Tier II Reporting Easier  

In An Insider’s Look at Tier II Reporting, Denton Bruce from Bunzl, Bob Johnson, Environmental Affairs Manager for Lennox International, and Marilia Sinigaglia, a Customer Service Manager at Encamp, recapped what their 2021 EPCRA reporting year involved and what made it a success. The popular event got direct interest from close to 250 EHS leaders and people in environmental compliance roles. 

With Bunzl Distribution maintaining more than 200 facilities across the U.S. and Lennox International operating 250 distribution locations in 40 states, our insiders discussed all the Tier II reporting hurdles they faced for RY 2021 and how they are overcoming them. 

Here are the three principal takeaways from the discussion.

Takeaway #1 – Maintain continual compliance throughout the year 

Along with the pandemic, constant changes to regulations and verifying their applicability for each facility have forced many companies to change how they manage EPCRA compliance. 

Critical new and updated regulations for EPCRA reporting over the years

Having expert partners who specialize in compliance issues like these helps EHS leaders manage change within their data management and reporting process. Also helpful is technology that signals regulatory updates via automated notifications and alerts. “Partnering with you guys (Encamp),” said Lennox’s Bob Johnson, “allowed us to shift a lot of the burden to somebody that specializes, or what I call ‘focuses on,’ that part of the data management process” to ensure continual compliance. 

Support like this lets leaders close their EHS books each month instead of waiting until Q1 to prepare for the March 1 Tier II reporting due date. 

Takeaway #2 – Collect and centralize compliance data to increase process control 

“The voracious appetite for data is a challenge,” Johnson said in regard to the compliance data he manages at Lennox. In general, data can range from facility profiles, chemical inventory lists and safety data sheets (SDSs) to regulatory contacts, including SERCs, LEPCs, and local fire departments. Creating a central database, or single source of truth, to manage this information and all sites is critical. These data collection best practices also help.

When you can also combine the portals from various states with a single reporting interface, all the better. “Standardization is key,” said Bunzl’s Bruce. For reporting data, “Encamp allowed us to (implement) standardized repeatable reporting that was very streamlined in a resource constrained environment.”

Takeaway #3 – Simplify how regulatory requirements for Tier II reporting are managed

Especially when businesses add or acquire facilities, regulatory requirements often multiply in state and local level complexity. “I think we added 15 to 20 new facilities,” Johnson said regarding the sites Lennox acquired in 2021. “And obviously some of those were in states that we hadn’t reported in before.”

With a common repository for compliance and regulatory data, EHS teams can build out new facility profiles, upload new site data, verify applicable EPCRA reporting requirements, and even manage how Tier II reporting fees are paid, among other functions. “They (Bunzl and Lennox) were able to send us the data from whatever system they used, and we manipulated that data to talk to our system,” said Marilia Sinigaglia of Encamp. “We led with empathy, and then constant communication,” she added. 

As Johnson said about one of Lennox’s new facilities, “Since we were partnered within Encamp, I didn’t have to dive deep and do a research thesis on reporting in West Virginia.”  

In an Encamp study for Tier II reporting year 2021, 62% of respondents gave a rating of 7 out of 7 when asked whether technology fulfilled their Tier II needs.

A final issue to think about: How long would it take to pull all the information you need for a full environmental compliance audit?

This web event and the EHS insiders who made it possible can help you begin to answer that question. Listen to the full webinar to see how they did it.

Transforming the way enterprises stay in compliance 

Encamp is on a mission to create a world where good for business can equal good for the environment. We help enterprises transform compliance programs and human processes into a technology-driven system that lays the foundation for accurate and ongoing environmental compliance through a blended method of intelligent high-tech solutions and high-touch expert support.

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