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California Poised to Require Workplace Violence Prevention Plans

08 Nov


Update Applicable to:

All California employers

What happened?

On Sept. 30, 2023, Governor Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 553, which requires California employers to have a written Workplace Violence Prevention Plan (WVPP) by July 1, 2024.

What do employers need to do?

Employers should review the bill in detail and update their workplace violence prevention and mitigation plans to reflect changing technology and workplace concerns, to comply properly with the law.

What are the details?

This bill mandates workplace violence prevention plans for employers in the state. This bill sets new requirements for preventing workplace violence and applies to virtually all employers in California, not limited to a specific industry. It aims to create a comprehensive approach to preventing workplace violence.

While specific plan details may vary, employers will be required to adopt Workplace Violence Prevention Programs (WVPPs). These programs should include effective measures to address and prevent workplace violence incidents. Details on what these programs should entail are expected to be defined in regulations consistent with existing healthcare industry workplace violence prevention standards. 

It’s worth noting that there are already existing regulations in the healthcare industry for workplace violence prevention, and the new requirements are expected to align with these standards.

SB 553 imposes several requirements on California employers, such as:

  • Employers must create workplace violence prevention plans tailored to their specific work areas and hazards.
  • These plans should include effective procedures for handling workplace violence reports from employees.
  • Periodic review and necessary revisions of the plan are mandatory.
  • Employers are required to maintain a violent incident log, documenting incidents’ date, time, location, violence type, perpetrator details, circumstances, weapon use, and more.
  • Adequate training on workplace violence prevention must be provided to employees, considering their education, literacy, and language levels.
  • Training should cover topics such as obtaining a copy of the employer’s plan, Labor Code Section 6401.9 requirements, reporting violence incidents, and seeking assistance.
  • Records of training, violent incidents, and incident investigations must be retained: training records for one-year, violent incident logs for five years, and incident investigation records for five years.
  • Starting from January 1, 2025, SB 553 also authorizes a collective bargaining representative of an employee to seek certain actions.

SB 553 requires Cal/OSHA to adopt its own general industry workplace violence regulation by December 31, 2026. Essentially, SB 553 is a placeholder until Cal/OSHA passes its own standard, which would replace SB 553’s requirements.

Please note that these effective dates are related to different provisions within the bill, with the primary requirement for employers taking effect on July 1, 2024.

For more information, please see the links below:

Official Bill: SB-553

Law Firm Articles: Article 1, Article 2, Article 3, Article 4, Article 5,  Article 6

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This communication is intended solely for the purpose of conveying information. The present post might incorporate hyperlinks directing readers to websites managed by third-party entities. The inclusion of any links within this communication is meant to serve as points of reference and could encompass opinion articles from various law firms, articles from HR associations, official websites, news releases, and documents of government agencies, and other relevant third-party sources. Vensure has no authority over these external websites and bears no responsibility for their content. Furthermore, Vensure does not endorse the materials present on these websites. The contents of this communication should not be interpreted as legal advice or as a legal standpoint concerning specific facts or scenarios. Nor should it be deemed an exhaustive compilation of facts potentially pertinent to federal, state, or local laws. It is strongly advised that employers solicit legal guidance from an employment attorney when undertaking actions in response to any legal updates provided. This is due to the possibility of future alterations occurring in federal, state, and local laws, regulations, as well as the directives and guidelines issued by governing agencies. These changes may transpire at any given time, potentially rendering certain portions of the content within this update void or inaccurate.

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