Hazardous Material Business Plan Program

Businesses must complete a Hazardous Materials Business Plan (Business Plan) using an electronic reporting system for the safe storage and use of chemicals. Electronic reporting requirements are discussed in the section titled "Electronic Reporting".  Firefighters, health officials, planners, public safety officers, health care providers and others rely on the Business Plan 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 Business Plan 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 Business Plan 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. Radioactive materials and extremely hazardous substances are reportable in any amount based on a policy established by this agency.

Exemptions From Filing

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

  • The hazardous materials are contained solely in consumer products for direct distribution to, and use by,  the general public
  • You are a physician, dentist, podiatrist, veterinarian, or pharmacist who stores oxygen, nitrogen, and/or nitrous oxide in quantities of not more 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 5,000 pounds or less of a liquid or solid 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 1,000 cubic feet or less of a compressed gas, excluding cryogenics, that is classified solely as an irritant or sensitizer (see Section 5194 of Title 8 of the California Code of Regulations)

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 Business Plan electronically.  Our agency established an electronic reporting system for this purpose.  Further information for the local electronic reporting system is found in the section titled "Electronic Reporting"
  • You must complete and submit a Business Plan 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 Business Plan annually.
  • You must review, update, and submit or certify the entire Business Plan every three years.
  • You must revise and submit a Business Plan 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 periodically inspects businesses to determine if the Business Plan is complete and accurate.  The inspection also includes a review of emergency response procedures and employee training records.
  • If inspectors identify Business Plan 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. 

Contact San Mateo County's Hazardous Materials Business Plan Program at (650) 372-6200 for more information.