Governor Newsome increased worker protection laws when he signed SB 553 into law. Effective July 1, 2024, employers must comply with several new obligations, such as:

  • developing and implementing a workplace violence prevention plan (WVPP) either as a standalone document or as part of their required Injury and Illness Prevention Plan (IIPP),
  • training employees on the plan,
  • creating workplace violence incidence logs, and
  • various recordkeeping requirements

Workplace violence is as any act of violence or threat of violence that occurs in a place of employment. It includes the threat or use of physical force against an employee. It also includes an incident involving a threat or use of a firearm or other dangerous weapon. Actual injury is not required. Workplace violence excludes lawful acts of self-defense or defense of others.

Workplace Violence Prevention Plans (WVPP)

The WVPP is like written Illness Injury Prevention Plans and COVID0-19 Prevention Plans. The plan must be in writing and available to employees and authorized employee representatives. Cal/OSHA has the right to inspect the WVPP.

The WVPP must include:

  • Which individuals are responsible for implementing the
  • Procedures for obtaining employees’ and authorized representatives’ involvement in developing and implementing the plan.
  • Methods for implementing the plan with other employers, when applicable, to ensure that those employers and employees understand their respective roles.
  • Procedures for the employer to accept and respond to reports of workplace
  • Procedures to ensure that employees comply with the plan consistent with safe and healthy work practices.
  • Procedures to communicate with employees regarding workplace violence matters, including how to report an incident, how employee concerns will be investigated and how employees will be informed of investigation results.
  • Procedures for responding to actual or potential workplace violence emergencies, including ways to alert employees of emergencies, evacuation or sheltering plans, and how to get help from staff assigned to respond to workplace violence emergencies.
  • Procedures to develop and provide required training.
  • Procedures to identify and evaluate workplace violence hazards, including scheduled periodic inspections to identify unsafe conditions and work practices, and employee reports and
  • Procedures to correct identified workplace violence hazards in a timely
  • Procedures for post-incident response and
  • Procedures to review the plan’s effectiveness and revise the plan as needed, including procedures to obtain active involvement of employees and representatives in reviewing the plan.
  • And of course a catch-all: Procedures or other information required by Cal/OSHA.

The plan must be reviewed every year, when a deficiency is observed or apparent, and after a workplace violence incident has occurred.

I expect Cal/OSHA will undoubtedly create model WVP Plans for employers to use in developing their plans.

Workplace Violence Records

Employers must keep the following records for five years:

  • Records of workplace violence hazard identification, evaluation and correction (five years).
  • Violence incident logs (five years).
  • Records of workplace violence incident investigations (five years).

Training records must be kept for one year (but I recommend keeping them for five years).

Certain Employers are Exempt

The new workplace violence rules do not apply to:

  • Employees teleworking from a location of their choice;
  • Employment locations with fewer than 10 employees that are not accessible to the public;
  • Health care facilities operating under Cal/OSHA’s Violence Prevention in Health Care regulations; and
  • Law enforcement

If you need assistance developing your Workplace Violence Prevention Plan, or if you need assistance training employees on how to prevent and respond to workplace violence issues, contact the Nuddleman Law Firm. Robert Nuddleman has been helping employers comply with California and Federal employment laws for over 25 years. He also assists employees who have experienced problems in the workplace.