EPCRA Section 311: Safety Data Sheet (SDS) Reporting


Under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA), Section 311 addresses the reporting requirements for maintaining and submitting Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) for hazardous chemicals used or stored in the workplace. This article provides an overview of EPCRA Section 311, its interrelation with Section 312, covered chemicals, and notification requirements.

Notification and Reporting Requirements

Notification Requirement

Facilities covered by EPCRA Section 311 are required to submit either the SDSs or a list of hazardous chemicals to their State Emergency Response Commission (SERC), Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC), and the local fire department. This notification should be made once, and, under federal regulations, should be made within 90 days of the chemical(s) being brought on-site.

Note: Every time a new, previously unreported, chemical is brought on-site, it is subject to the notification requirement of EPCRA Section 311. Therefore, new facilities have a three-month period from the time they become subject to OSHA regulations to complete the submission.

Tier II Reporting (Section 312)

In addition to the hazardous chemical inventory reporting, EPCRA Section 312 requires covered facilities to submit an annual inventory report, also known as a Tier II report, for the same chemicals. The Tier II report provides significantly more information on the hazardous chemicals present at the facility, including information such as the chemical name, quantities stored, and necessary emergency response measures.

Tip: Submitting a Tier II report for a chemical also satisfies the Section 311 notification requirement, provided it is made within the required timeline. Therefore, if a chemical is brought on-site within 90 days (or shorter, in some jurisdictions) of the date that you file your Tier II report, then you do not have to also file a notification. However, if the chemical is an Extremely Hazardous Substance (EHS) subject to a Section 302 notification, a facility must still make both notifications.

Covered Chemicals and Thresholds

The chemicals subject to reporting under Sections 311 and 312 depend on their quantities and specific classifications. The federal thresholds for reporting are as follows:

  • EHSs: 500 pounds or the Threshold Planning Quantity (TPQ), whichever is lower, as listed in 40 CFR part 355 Appendix A and Appendix B.

  • Gasoline (all grades combined) at a retail gas station: 75,000 gallons (approximately 283,900 liters), provided that the tanks are stored entirely underground and compliant with applicable Underground Storage Tank (UST) requirements.

  • Diesel fuel (all grades combined) at a retail gas station: 100,000 gallons (approximately 378,500 liters), provided that the tanks are stored entirely underground and compliant with applicable UST requirements.

  • All other hazardous chemicals: 10,000 pounds.


  1. Any food, food additive, color additive, drug, or cosmetic regulated by the Food and Drug Administration.

  2. Any substance present as a solid in any manufactured item to the extent exposure to the substance does not occur under normal conditions of use. Facilities would only have to count the amount of fume or dust given off a piece of metal, brick, or any other manufactured solid item that undergoes a modification process.

  3. Any substance to the extent it is used for personal, family, or household purposes, or is present in the same form and concentration as a product packaged for distribution and use by the general public.

  4. Any substance to the extent it is used in a research laboratory or a hospital or other medical facility under the direct supervision of a technically qualified individual.

  5. Any substance to the extent it is used in routine agricultural operations or is a fertilizer held for sale by a retailer to the ultimate customer.

State- and Local-Level Requirements

SERCs, LEPCs, and FDs are permitted by the EPA to implement stricter rules for Section 311 notifications, such as shorter notification timelines or lower chemical thresholds. For example, Pennsylvania requires these notifications to be submitted within 5 business days of the chemical being brought on-site. Additionally, while there are no notification format requirements at the federal level, some SERCs and LEPCs have their own prescribed formats, such as online portals or specific forms.

Tip: For any given jurisdiction, the thresholds for a Section 311 notification will always be identical to the thresholds for Tier II reporting.