Hazardous Materials Business Plan FAQ

CalEPA oversees the statewide implementation of the Hazardous Materials Business
Plan (HMBP) program, which aims to prevent or minimize harm to public health and
safety and the environment from a release or threatened release of a hazardous material.

Key Information

Frequently Asked Questions

The following information is provided to assist with understanding the Hazardous Materials Business Plan (HMBP) program. This information is not to be relied upon as legal advice or interpretation by CalEPA. It does not create any rights, obligations, or establish any new standards. Local governments may have requirements that are more stringent than state and should be contacted for further information.


What Is a Hazardous Material?

A hazardous material is defined as any material that, because of its quantity, concentration, or physical or chemical characteristics, poses a significant present or potential hazard to human health and safety or to the environment if released into the workplace or the environment. A material can be considered hazardous if its flammable, ignitable, corrosive, or toxic. A hazardous material includes, but are not limited to, any substances which:

  • Require a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) [California Labor Code 6360].
  • A substance listed pursuant to Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations.
  • A substance listed in Section 339 of Title 8 of the California Code of Regulations.
  • Listed as a radioactive material (Code of Federal Regulations, Title 10, Appendix B).
  • A hazardous waste (California Health and Safety Code, Chapter 6.5).

HSC 6.95 Section 25501(n)(1)

What Does “Handle” Mean?

“Handle” means all of the following:

To use, generate, process, produce, package, treat, store, emit, discharge, or dispose of a hazardous material in any fashion.

The term, “store” does not include the storage of hazardous materials incidental to transportation, as described in Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations, with regard to the inventory requirements of Section 25506.

The use or potential use of a quantity of hazardous material by the connection of a marine vessel, tank vehicle, tank car, or container to a system or process for any purpose.

The use or potential use does not include the immediate transfer to or from an approved atmospheric tank or approved portable tank that is regulated as loading or unloading incidental to transportation by Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations.

HSC 6.95 Section 25501(l)

What Does “Handler” Mean?

A handler is a business that handles a hazardous material.

HSC 6.95 Section 25501(m)

What is a Hazardous Materials Business Plan (HMBP)?

A HMBP is a plan that is used to protect public health and safety and the environment. A HMBP also meets the requirements of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) that requires emergency planning and reporting on hazardous and toxic chemicals for federal, state, and local government, tribes, and industry.

The HMBP provides local Unified Program Agencies (UPAs), local fire agencies, and the public with information on hazardous materials handled at businesses in order to prevent or mitigate the damage to the health and safety of persons and the environment from a release or threatened release of hazardous materials into the workplace and environment.

The HMBP is required to be established and implemented by a business that handles a hazardous material at or above a specified threshold. The business must electronically file the HMBP to the California Environmental Reporting System (CERS).

Information from HMBPs is used to assist with emergency responses to a release or threatened release of a hazardous material within a city of a county.

HSC 6.95 Section 25500

19 CCR Sections 2650

What is Required in an HMBP?

An HMBP must contain detailed information that includes all of the following:

 Facility Information

  • Business activities conducted at the facility subject to CUPA program requirements.
  • Information about the owner and/or operator.

19 CCR Section 2652(a)(1)

 Hazardous Materials Inventory

  • A list of all reportable hazardous materials handled at the facility at any one time of the reporting year. To determine the reportable threshold or any hazardous material reporting exemptions, refer to HSC 95 Section 25507.

Please refer to the Unified Program Regulator Directory to search for and view location/contact information for your local CUPA to determine if that jurisdiction has more stringent reporting requirements.

HSC 6.95 Section 25505(a)(1)

19 CCR Section 2652(a)(2)

 Site Map

A site map must be developed to assist emergency responders in the event of a hazardous materials release. The site map must contain the following:

  • North orientation;
  • Loading areas;
  • Internal roads;
  • Adjacent streets;
  • Storm and sewer drains;
  • Access and exit points;
  • Emergency shutoffs;
  • Evacuation staging areas;
  • Hazardous material handling and storage areas;
  • Emergency response equipment; and
  • Additional map requirements the governing body of the unified program agency finds necessary.

HSC 6.95 Section 25505(2)

19 CCR Sections 2652(a)(3)

 Emergency Response Plans and Procedures

The HMBP must include emergency response plans and procedures in the event of a reportable release or threatened release of a hazardous material, and include, at minimum, the following:

  • Immediate notification contacts to the appropriate local emergency response personnel and to the unified program agency and the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services.
  • Procedures for the mitigation of a release or threatened release to minimize any potential harm or damage to persons, property, or the environment.
  • Evacuation plans and procedures, including immediate notice, for the business site.

HSC Section 6.95 Section 25505(a)(3)

19 CCR Section 2658

 Employee Training Program

A HMBP must also include a training program, for all employees, that includes training in safety procedures in the event of a release or threatened release of a hazardous material. The program can be reasonable and appropriate for the size of the business and the nature of the hazardous materials handled. Additionally, the program shall take into consideration the responsibilities of the employees to be trained and shall, at minimum, include:

  • Methods for safe handling of hazardous materials.
  • Procedures for coordination with local emergency response organizations.
  • Use of emergency response equipment and supplies under the control of the handler.
  • Familiarity with the emergency response plan and procedures.

The business plan shall include provisions for ensuring that appropriate personnel receive initial and refresher training. The training must be documented electronically or by hard copy and shall be made available for a minimum of three years.

HSC 6.95 Section 25505(a)(4)

19 CCR Section 2659

Legal Authority

California State Law: California Health and Safety Code, Division 20, Chapter 6.95, Article 1, Sections 25500 to 25519

California State Regulations: California Code of Regulations, Title 19, Division 2, Chapter 4, Article 4, Sections 2650 to 2660

If you have any questions regarding the HMBP program, please contact the program at HMBP@calepa.ca.gov.