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Hazardous Materials Business Plan Program


Hazardous Materials Business Plan Program

Businesses must complete a Hazardous Materials Business Plan (HMBP) using an electronic reporting system for the safe storage and use of chemicals.

Firefighters, health officials, planners, public safety officers, health care providers and others rely on the HMBP in an emergency. They use it to prevent or lessen damage to the health and safety of people and the environment when a hazardous material is released. The Hazardous Materials Business Plan Program is also known as the Community Right to Know Program and any citizen has the right to review these plans upon request.

Hazardous Materials

Hazardous materials are any substances that can harm public health or the environment. Some examples of hazardous materials include:

  • Flammable liquids and solids
  • Petroleum-based products, such as motor oil, gasoline and diesel fuel
  • Acids and bases, such as pool chemicals and drain cleaners
  • Paints
  • Inks
  • Fertilizers

Hazardous Materials Business Plan

The HMBP must include:

  • Summary of business activities
  • Owner/operator information including emergency contacts
  • The type and quantity of reportable hazardous materials
  • Site map
  • Emergency response procedures
  • Employee training program

In general, you must submit a HMBP if your business handles and/or stores a hazardous material equal to or greater than the minimum reportable quantities. These quantities are 55 gallons for liquids, 500 pounds for solids and 200 cubic feet (at standard temperature and pressure) for compressed gases. For further information regarding Business Plan minimum reportable quantities other than the quantities referenced above, refer to the Health and Safety Code Division 20 Chapter 6.95.

Exemptions from Filing

You are exempt from the regulations and do not have to file a HMBP if you do not have other reportable hazardous materials and:

  • The hazardous materials are contained solely in consumer products at a retail establishment and intended for sale to and use by the public.
  • You are a physician, dentist, podiatrist, veterinarian, or pharmacist, or emergency medical service provider who stores oxygen, nitrogen, and/or nitrous oxide in quantities less than 1,000 cubic feet for each material.
  • You store 55 gallons or less of any specific type of lubricating oil and your total quantity does not exceed 275 gallons for all types of lubricating oil (excluding used oil).
  • You store no more than 500 gallons of propane that is used for the sole purpose of heating employee work areas, cooking, and heating water
  • You store less than 5,000 pounds of a solid hazardous material or less than 550 gallons of a liquid hazardous material that is classified solely as an irritant or sensitizer (see Section 5194 of Title 8 of the California Code of Regulation).
  • You store an aggregate capacity of less than 1,320 gallons for either fluid in a hydraulic system or oil-filled electrical equipment that is not contiguous to an electric facility.
  • You store less than 1,000 cubic feet of a compressed gas, that is an inert gas with only simple asphyxiation or pressure release hazards, (see Section 5194 of Title 8 of the California Code of Regulations. Examples include nitrogen, argon, helium, neon, etc.), carbon dioxide, non-flammable refrigerant gases used in refrigeration systems, gases used in fire suppression systems.
  • The only reportable substance is fuel stored in an emergency generator that will be on-site for 90 days or less and the business submits a HMBP Exemption Application for Temporary Emergency Generator Deployment and obtains a 90-day CUPA permit. Please note that a CUPA Permit is not required if the temporary emergency generator deployment is less than 30 days. Due to the potential time-sensitive nature of an emergency generator deployment and the permit application approval process, the public is advised to contact the CUPA to request information regarding these permit applications and for the purpose of providing input.

Submitting a Business Plan

  • Effective January 1, 2013, all businesses subject to the Hazardous Materials Business Plan Program requirements are required to submit a new or revised HMBP electronically. Our agency established an electronic reporting system for this purpose. 
  • You must complete and submit a HMBP within 30 days of handling or storing a hazardous material equal to or greater than the minimum reportable quantities.
  • You must review, update, and submit or certify the Business Activities, Business Owner/Operator, and Hazardous Materials Sections of the HMBP annually.
  • You must review, update, and submit or certify the entire HMBP every three years.
  • You must revise and submit a HMBP within 30 days if your business makes significant changes. Some of these changes include but are not limited to: new ownership or emergency contacts, major increases or decreases in hazardous materials storage, changes in location of hazardous materials, and/or significant operational changes.
  • San Mateo County Environmental Health Services periodically inspects businesses to determine if the HMBP is complete and accurate. The inspection also includes a review of emergency response procedures and employee training records.
  • If inspectors identify HMBP deficiencies and/or violations during an inspection, the business will receive a Notice to Comply with a specific time frame for corrective actions, typically 30 days.

Call (650) 372-6200 for more information. 

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