January 1 Deadline: Massachusetts Facilities that Process Hazardous Materials (Categories 2 and 3)

December 10, 2013

In 2012, Massachusetts implemented new Board of Fire Prevention regulations
(527 CMR 33.00) for facilities that process hazardous materials, such as: 

  • combustible liquids
  • compressed gases (e.g., ammonia)
  • cryogenic substances
  • explosives
  • flammable substances
  • organic peroxides
  • oxidizers
  • self-igniting materials
  • unstable materials
  • water-reactive materials


Categories 2 and 3 are affected

There are five categories of hazardous materials processing, based on the capacity of the vessel in which the process takes place. Facilities with the largest process vessels (Categories 4 and 5) had permitting and planning deadlines earlier in 2013. The next deadline, January 1, 2014, impacts Category 2 and 3 facilities.

These facilities are required to: 

  1. Obtain an annual permit from the local fire department
  2. Evaluate the hazards associated with their processes 
  3. Undertake emergency planning 
  4. Conduct post-incident analysis (if applicable) 


Category 3 processes

Category 3 processes involve or produce a hazardous material in a vessel with a capacity greater than 60 gallons and up to 300 gallons, or in a process area classified as a "H-Occupancy" under the Massachusetts State Building Code (780 CMR). These requirements impact facilities that use approximately 300 to 1,500 pounds of ammonia, such as in a refrigeration system, ice rink, or comfort cooling system. The regulations may also affect facilities that manufacture chemicals and facilities that mix chemicals (alcohols, peroxides, lab chemicals, fuel additives, etc.) together in a pipe or a tank. H-occupancy buildings include areas where manufacturing, processing, generation, or storage of materials that constitute a physical or health hazard takes place, such as production areas and warehouses.


Category 2 processes

Category 2 processes involve or produce a hazardous material in a vessel with a capacity greater than 2.5 gallons and up to 60 gallons. These requirements may affect laboratories, chemical manufacturers, or other facilities that mix chemicals together in smaller quantities. 


Category 1 processes

Category 1 processes, which involve or produce a hazardous material in a vessel with a capacity of up to 2.5 gallons, do not need a permit. They are still required to meet hazard communication and emergency planning requirements


Categories 4 and 5 reminder

Facilities that have a Category 4 or 5 permit must renew the permit with the local fire department within one year from the date the permit was issued.





Not sure if this regulation applies to your facility? 

GeoInsight can evaluate whether this program applies to your operations. If it does, we can develop the permit and program documentation to demonstrate compliance with the regulations. Please call
Suzanne Pisano, Director of Compliance, at (978) 679-1600, or email her at slpisano@geoinc.com if you have any questions. 









Download the permit application as a PDF






Download FAQs for 527 CMR 33.00