Performance Incentive Program (PIP)

Federal and state laws require businesses to disclose their hazardous materials/waste inventories to the local Certified Unified Program Agency (CUPA). In Kern County there are approximately 3,600 businesses that handle hazardous materials and, of those, 12% handle moderately hazardous or extremely hazardous materials. Facilities handling moderately and extremely hazardous materials have an associated greater chance of significant onsite and offsite consequences if the hazardous materials are released.

The Kern County Environmental Health Division (KCEH) has implemented a risk-based approach to the allocation of resources within the Hazardous Materials Program. Businesses that handle small quantities of chemicals that present limited risk if released are inspected once every three years as required by state law. Businesses that store and utilize moderate or extremely hazardous materials are inspected biennially or annually, depending on the volume and type of material. Inspections are conducted to ensure local businesses operate in a safe manner to prevent impacts to the community. Inspections typically involve a thorough review of all chemical inventories, safety procedures, release prevention and control protocols, accidental histories, complaints, and compliance under state and federal regulations.

Businesses that have allocated resources and have a documented record of compliance with state and federal laws and have not experienced site releases present a reduced risk to the community. High performing facilities practice and adheres to safety cultures that resonate throughout their workplace that reflects their attitudes, beliefs, perceptions, and values of employees and management in sharing the vision of safety. The Performance Incentive Program (PIP) is a voluntary program available to eligible facilities to reduce inspection frequencies and reduce annual permit fees. This program allows KCEH to shift resources away from businesses that demonstrate superior regulatory compliance and instead provide direct oversight and involvement to businesses that are struggling to achieve compliance.

This PIP policy provides information on the eligibility for businesses to qualify for the program, the hazardous materials inspection process, the scoring system used, and common terminology utilized by KCEH. This policy serves not only as a training guide for KCEH and its employees, but as a reference manual and an educational tool to assist business owners. If you have questions regarding the PIP or this policy, please contact our office:

Kern County Environmental Health Division
2700 M Street, Suite 300
Bakersfield, CA 93301
Telephone: (661) 862-8740

The success of any inspection program requires a clear understanding of the common terminology used by the inspector and the regulated industry. The terms below are defined so that everyone can communicate clearly and openly during the Environmental Health inspection process.

Aboveground Petroleum Storage Program (APSA) is a regulatory program to oversee the operation of an aboveground petroleum storage tank to prevent and mitigate effects on the health of the community and releases to the environment. This program is regulated under the California Health and Safety Code (H&SC).

Business Contact is the individual listed on the PIP application form submitted by the business to be considered for the Performance Incentive Program.

Business Plan Program is a regulatory program to provide information to the public and first responders to prevent and mitigate damage to the health of the community and the environment. Any business handling the quantities at or above the reporting threshold of hazardous materials is regulated by the Certified Unified Program Agency (CUPA) and is required to be permitted by the department.

California Accidental Release Prevention Program (CalARP) is a regulatory program designed to oversee the handling of extremely hazardous materials that, if released, would cause significant and widespread health effects and damage to the environment. This program is regulated under the H&SC and California Code of Regulations (CCR).

California Environmental Reporting System (CERS) is a statewide web-based system to support the CUPAs in electronically collecting and reporting hazardous materials-related data as mandated by the H&SC.

Eligible Business is any business meeting the requirements to participate in the Performance Incentive Program and applies to participate in the program. A business must be located within Kern County and under the jurisdiction of Kern County Environmental Health – CUPA.

Hazardous Materials Facility is any business handling and storing of hazardous materials above the reporting thresholds listed in the H&SC and CCR.

Hazardous Waste Generator Program is a regulatory program applicable to generators of hazardous waste or regulated under H&SC and CCR and is designed to ensure the proper handling, treatment and disposal of such wastes.

Qualifying Score is the score required for an applicant to be approved to be placed into a lower inspection frequency. This score is 95% or greater based upon a cumulative average for all hazardous materials programs administered by the KCEH – CUPA at the facility.

Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasures Plan (SPCC) is a required component of an owner/operator of an aboveground storage tank system(s) that meets the requirements as designed in the H&SC. This information is used to prevent and mitigate releases to the environment.

Underground Storage Tank Program (UST) is any business that operates a storage tank(s) that is substantially or totally beneath the surface of the ground that stores hazardous substances. Facilities with UST systems are required to have a current and valid permit to operate issued by the CUPA based on compliance.

Examples of Violations
The examples provided below are not an exhaustive list and may not be appropriate depending on the circumstances of each violation.

Class 1 Violation is the highest class of violation.

  • Major and/or flagrant disregard for regulatory requirement
  • Failure to report a release or threatened release
  • Facility has a chemical release that adversely impacts the community, workers, or the environment
  • Failure to report within 30 days a new hazardous materials that poses a significant threat
  • Violations that are willful, intentional, negligent, knowing or should have known, including false documentation
  • Failure to submit or update a Risk Management Plan (RMP) by required date
  • Failure to implement a Prevention Program
  • If a CalARP program element is found to be inadequate and attributable to the cause of the incident
  • If an audit determines that CalARP program prevention elements is missing completely or significantly enough to render it ineffective
  • No incident investigation conducted for significant release
  • Process Hazard Review (PHA) or Hazard Review not complete, updated, or revalidated every 5 years as required
  • Failure to have compliance audit completed as required by frequency
  • Any violation linked to an immediate and credible threat to human health or the environment
  • Failure to submit in CERS and/or implement a business plan annually
  • Failure of the owner/operator to correct deficiencies or Return to Compliance (RTC) found from an inspection/audit during the specified time frame
  • Repeated violations of a Class 2 violation

Class 2 Violation is the second highest class of violation. Characteristics of Class 2 Violations are:

  • Diversions from a regulatory requirement
  • RMP not updated within 6 months of an accidental release
  • Failure of the owner/operator to revise/correct/update the RMP 30 days after a CUPA inspection/audit where the inspection report identified a necessary revision or update
  • Accidental releases directly related to circumstances beyond the businesses control

Only businesses placed into an annual or biennial inspection frequency due to handling extremely or moderately hazardous materials are eligible for the PIP. The eligibility requirements for those businesses are as follows:

  • Have an active and valid operating permit on file with KCEH – CUPA.
  • Have a current and complete Hazardous Materials Business Plan submission in CERS.
  • Must be inspected on an annual or biennial inspection frequency due to a moderately hazardous or extremely hazardous material being handled by the business (based on the original determined program element).
  • Must have received a qualifying score of 95% or higher on the most recent routine inspection of all program elements.
  • Must apply and submit the required application by deadline to participate.
  • Must not have had any Class 1 violations cited or have had potential major deficiencies identified from the current qualifying inspection/audit year.
  • Must have returned to compliance for all violations/deficiencies found during an inspection/audit.
  • Must not have been the subject of an enforcement action by KCEH within the inspection cycle.
  • Must not have had any significant or unauthorized release of a hazardous material/waste.

Routine inspections are conducted at a frequency determined by the facility’s chemical inventory (chemical and volume/weight) and whether those chemicals are in Table 1, 2, or 3 of Title 19 California Code of Regulations, Division 2, Chapter 4.5, Article 8, Section 2770.5. The inspector conducts an in-depth evaluation of the facility and records violations on the inspection report form. All high and moderate risk facility inspections are scored, evaluated and assessed.

Re-inspections are inspections initiated by the inspector when the routine inspection reveals serious or repeat violations at the facility. This is not a routine inspection and only the issues noted on the original routine inspection are addressed. The score will not be changed until the next routine inspection. Re-inspections are not included in the annual Environmental Health Permit fee, so an additional charge shall be incurred by the owner.

KCEH is responsible for enforcing sections of the California Health and Safety Code, California Code of Regulations, as well as the Kern County Ordinance. In turn, KCEH is audited by the California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA), Department of Toxic Substance Control (DTSC), Office of the State Fire Marshall (OSFM), State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB), and the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (CalOES) to ensure KCEH is adequately enforcing compliance with state and federal laws and regulations.

The IRF is used both to document violations observed at a hazardous materials facility and to calculate the final score based on compliance. The IRF is a multi-page document length dependent upon the number of programs active at an individual facility. When completed, the IRF provides the owner/operator with important information to identify areas within their operation that have the greatest potential for failure and subsequent risk to staff and the public.

Violations are documented on the IRF, which is issued to the facility by the inspector at the conclusion of the inspection. This IRF is used for routine inspections, re-inspections, audits, complaint investigations and other inspections to indicate the status of a facility at the time of the inspection.

The report contains violations for documenting findings and information. Violations are separated into sections and programs (Business Plan Program, Hazardous Waste Generator Program, Underground Storage Tank Program, Aboveground Storage Tank Program, and California Accidental Release Prevention Program).

KCEH employs a scoring system as an indicator to determine the standing of a facility in conforming to current health and safety requirements. This score is also used to determine eligibility for participation in the PIP. Violations on the IRF are calculated as a percentage (ratio of violations to total number of applicable potential violations). The score the facility receives reflects the status of the facility at the time of the inspection.

Each facility begins an inspection with 100% compliance. As the inspector conducts the inspection, violations found are marked on the corresponding box of the IRF. The number of violations noted during the inspection is divided by the number of potential violations applicable to that facility, and a percentage is automatically determined.

A facility must achieve a score of 95% or greater to be eligible for participation.

Self-Inspection Checklist

This checklist is provided so that you may perform periodic reviews of your facility’s operation and to assist you in identifying areas that may need improvement. Since the items listed in this checklist are related to general operating practices, they can also be used as a training resource for your employees. The following checklists are not intended to replace knowledge of the laws and regulations, but are general guidelines phrased in “common language” to prompt the operator in asking whether they are following the applicable program’s highlights. The KCEH is dedicated to working with the owner/operator to assure that their staff and the public are protected from unauthorized releases of hazardous materials/waste. The use of this selfinspection checklist is one method that will help you provide a safe and healthy business environment and maximize the safety of our community.


  • Has your Hazardous Materials Business Plan been updated, completed, and submitted in CERS on an annual basis?
  • Have you added/deleted any chemical from your chemical inventory? If so, have the changes been made in CERS?
  • Is your Emergency Response/Contingency Plan been updated, accurate, and submitted in CERS?
  • Is your Training Plan up to date, accurate, and submitted in CERS?
  • Are your training documents up to date?
  • Is your facility site map up to date and submitted in CERS?
  • Is your emergency contact information and agency notification list current?


  • Is your EPA ID number current and in CERS?
  • Do your employees have proper training on the handling of hazardous waste?
  • Do you complete daily inspections of waste containers?
  • Are your hazardous waste containers in good condition?
  • Are your hazardous waste containers properly stored?
  • Do you dispose of your hazardous waste as determined by law?
  • Are your manifests current and retained for minimum of 3 years?
  • Are all hazardous waste containers/tanks properly identified and labeled as determined by law?
  • Is your Contingency Plan current?
  • Have you completed the biennial report?


  • Do you have a complete, current and certified SPCC (if required)?
  • Have you added any new aboveground tanks?
  • Are your aboveground tanks or containers properly labeled?
  • Are your site maps correct for your aboveground tanks?
  • Have mandated requirements for the APSA program been implemented and accurate?


  • Do you have a current Financial Responsibility Certificate on file and submitted in CERS?
  • Do you have a Designated Operator completing the required training and documentation of monthly inspections?
  • Is your monitoring and response plan current and updated in CERS?
  • Has your secondary containment been tested and in compliance within the last three years?
  • Has your cathodic protection been verified and certified within the last three years?
  • Is your monitoring system functioning as designed?
  • Are your monitoring records current?
  • Is your UST system in compliance with all rules and regulations as determined by law?
  • Is your secondary containment and overspill liquid/debris free?


  • Has your facility submitted an RMP?
  • Is your Hazard Assessment complete and current?
  • Are your endpoints for off-site consequence up to date?
  • Is your worst-case scenario analysis current?
  • Is your alternative release scenario analysis current?
  • Have you appropriately identified your scenario(s) for each process?
  • Is your off-site consequence analysis current?
  • Are all accidental releases in your five-year accident history?
  • Is your process safety information current?
  • Has your process hazard analysis or hazard review been performed?
  • Are your written operating procedures current, accurate, and certified annually?
  • Is training for all employees current and documented? Refresher training?
  • Is your written mechanical integrity current and up-to-date?
  • Do you have a written procedure to manage changes?
  • Have you completed your compliance audit within provisions of CalARP within the required time frame?
  • Have all your incidents been investigated and documented?
  • Has your written employee participation been implemented and properly documented?
  • Is your written emergency response plan current, accurate, and practiced?

If, after completion of an inspection, the business owner disagrees with the inspection findings, the owner may request an appeal.

  1. The owner may submit a written request for an appeal on a standardized form within five (5) business days following the inspection.
  2. The appeal shall be heard within three (3) business days following the receipt of the written appeal request.
  3. The appeal shall be heard by the Director, at which time the appeal will be considered and a final decision will be issued within one (1) business day.

If the facility qualifies for PIP, an application form will be sent to you to complete and send back.
Here is a Sample Application Form
Request to Appeal