Workplace Violence Prevention Plan Required for California Employers

Workplace violence is a growing concern for both employers and employees. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), there are about 2 million victims of workplace violence each year. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) defines workplace violence as “violent acts, including physical assaults and verbal threats, directed toward persons at work or on duty.”

A new California law, Senate Bill 553, requires nearly all California employers to adopt and implement a Workplace Violence Prevention Plan (WVPP) no later than July 1, 2024. The goal of a WVPP is to support a work environment in which violent or potentially violent situations are effectively addressed. The focus of the program should be on prevention by increasing employees’ understanding of the nature of workplace violence, how to respond, and how to prevent it.

ICW Group’s risk management team has compiled helpful resources to help you develop and maintain your Workplace Violence Prevention Plan. These include a comprehensive website available through our online learning management system, Safety OnDemand(R), complete with a webinar, templates and a FAQ. Additional tools and resources include a Violent Incident Log template and a Workplace Violence Plan Guide.

Who Needs to be Complaint with SB 533

Public and private employers with employees located in California must comply with SB 533, with limited exceptions, including:

  • Companies with fewer than 10 employees present at any given time and that are not accessible to the public.
  • Employees teleworking from a location of their choice that is not under the employer’s control.
  • Healthcare facilities covered by Section 3342 of Title 8 of the California Code of Regulations are exempt from SB 553 and should reference the requirements in Section 3342 instead.

In anticipation of the July 1, 2024 deadline, employers must review the full requirements of SB 553, develop a written program tailored to their specific workplace needs, outline a training plan, and engage employees in the implementation process.

Key Components of the WVPP

Earlier this year, the California Department of Industrial Relations Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) published a model workplace violence prevention plan and fact sheet. The model plan details specific responsibilities for WVPP administrators and includes a range of policies and procedures designed to ease the process of investigating and documenting workplace violence incidents, tools to identify and evaluate hazards, emergency response protocols, required employee training, and methods for reviewing and revising the plan as needed.

The WVPP must be in writing and easily accessible to employees. Important components of the WVPP model plan include:

  • The name(s) or job title(s) of the person(s) responsible for implementing the WVPP
  • A system for identifying and evaluating workplace hazards
  • Procedures for accepting and responding to reports of workplace violence, including protections against retaliation
  • Procedures to investigate employee concerns
  • Procedures to communicate workplace violence matters with employees
  • Procedures for responding to an actual or potential workplace violence emergency, including the means to alert employees of the emergency, how to obtain help from staff designated to respond, and evacuation and shelter plans
  • Procedures for post-incident response and investigation
  • Procedures that encourage employee participation in developing and implementing the plan

Employee Training Requirements

In addition to establishing a written WVPP, employers must train employees when the initial plan is implemented, annually thereafter, and when changes are made to the plan. Interactive training must be facilitated by an individual knowledgeable about the employer’s plan, allowing employees the opportunity to ask questions and engage in discussion.

WVPP training must include:

  • A review of the employer’s workplace violence prevention plan and a detailed description of workplace hazards, along with education of SB 553 definitions and requirements
  • Information on how employees can report incidents, strategies to avoid physical harm, and how to respond to threats of violence
  • Education on the incident log and the hazards specific to their job
  • The unique hazards to each workplace location and various job types

Given the requirements to tailor the training to work locations and job functions, employers will likely have to be involved in developing customized training rather than relying on a generalized training source.

What You Need to Know About Recordkeeping

Violent Incident Logs: Each violent incident must be recorded in a violent incident log that is maintained for at least five years. Specific information regarding the investigation must be recorded and maintained, though logs must exclude personal identifying information. Logs must also be periodically reviewed. ICW Group has created a Violence Incident Log template for workers’ compensation policyholders to use if needed.

Workplace Violence Hazard Identification: Records of workplace violence hazard identification, evaluation, and correction must be compiled and retained for a minimum of five years.

Workplace Incident Investigation Records: Documentation pertaining to workplace violence incident investigations conducted in accordance with an employer’s WVPP must be maintained for a minimum of five years.

Workplace Violence Training: Records of WVPP training must be retained for at least one year. Training records must specify a training date, a summary of the content covered in the training session, names and qualifications of individuals conducting the training, and names and job titles of all participants.

Risk Management Team
Risk Management Team
Safety is, without question, one of the most important investments companies make. Promoting a safe work environment goes a long way in keeping your workers productive and your costs down. ICW Group's Risk Management team provides a variety of resources to help you create and maintain a culture of safety.

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