On September 30, 2023, Governor Galvin Newsom signed new legislation that covered California employers by July 1, 2024, must implement extensive workplace violence prevention plans (WVPP) and deliver specified training to employees. In order to be in compliance by he specified deadline – including preparing plans that are “specific to the hazards and corrective measures for each work area” as required – it is recommended that employers need to prepare early.
Senate Bill 533 adds section 6401.9 to the California Labor Code. The legislation is intended to help employers prevent and respond effectively to workplace violence.
- “Effective procedures to obtain the active involvement of employees and union representatives” in developing and implementing the plan, identifying and correcting “workplace violence hazards,” and designing and implementing employee training;
- The names and job titles of all persons responsible for implementing the plan;
- Procedures to identify and correct workplace violence hazards in a timely manner;
- “Effective procedures to respond to actual or potential workplace violence emergencies”;
- “Effective procedures to communicate with employees regarding workplace violence matters” and to alert employees of workplace violence emergencies, including of the “presence, location, and nature” of such emergencies;
- Procedures for post-incident response and investigation; and
- Periodic review of the plan and updates and corrections as needed.
Covered employers also must maintain written logs of workplace violence incidents that set forth a great deal of specified information.
Employer plans must “be in effect at all times and in all work areas”. Employers must ensure their plans are “available and easily accessible” to employees, union representatives, and agents from the California Occupational Health and Safety Administration (Cal/OSHA).
The employee training required under the new law must cover particular subjects, allow for “interactive questions and answers,” and be in “vocabulary to the educational level, literacy, and language of [the] employees.” Covered employers must deliver the training to all employees no later than July 1, 2024, and annually thereafter.
Cal/OSHA is charged with enforcing the new requirements. Cal/OSHA will have authority to issue notices to correct and civil penalties.
“All employers, employees, places of employment, and employer-provided housing” are subject to the new requirements, other than those that meet one of a few exemptions in section 6401.9. Exempt employers are the following: (1) places of employment where no more than nine employees are present at any one time and that are not accessible to the public; (2) employees working remotely from a place of their choosing and that their employer does not control; (3) certain health care facilities; and (4) certain law enforcement and correctional facilities.
SB 553 requires that by December 1, 2025, Cal/OSHA propose further standards for WVPPs for adoption by the Cal/OSHA Standards Board by December 31, 2026