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June 24, 2022

Cal/OSHA Revives Workplace Violence Prevention Discussion

Cal/OSHA’s Violence Prevention in Health Care regulations currently require specified health care facilities to establish workplace violence prevention plans to protect health care personnel from aggressive and violate behavior. While those in non-health care industries have more generalized duties (under Cal/OSHA general duty requirements) requiring the identification and evaluation of workplace hazards with no duty to create and follow any specific plan. However, change is in the air with Cal/OSHA’s recent announcement that is it reviving its discussion draft for workplace violence prevention in general industry.

Initially proposed for public comment in 2017 and again in 2018, draft discussions failed to gain traction and were never pursued. More in keeping with Cal/OSHA’s current Illness and Injury Prevention Plan (IIPP) requirements, if passed, the Violence Prevention In General Industry would require the following:

  • Implementation and maintenance of an effective workplace violence prevention plan (Plan) that is in writing and available to employees and authorized employee representatives at all times (incorporated into an existing IIPP or as a separate document).
  • Maintenance (with some exception[i]) of a violent incident log.
  • Plan elements that include, but are not limited to:
    • Procedures to obtain active involvement of employees and authorized employee representatives in developing and implementing the Plan. This includes identifying, evaluating, and correcting workplace violence hazards; designing and implementing training; and reporting and investigating workplace violence incidents.
    • Procedures for accepting and responding to reports of workplace violence and prohibiting retaliation against employees who makes such a report.
    • Investigation procedures (e.g., how to report without fear of reprisal and how reports will be investigated, and employee(s) informed of results).
    • How employees will be alerted to violence emergencies including appropriate and feasible evacuation and shelter plans.
    • Training requirements and procedures to identify workplace violence hazards, correct such hazards including post-incident response and investigation.
    • Procedures for periodic effectiveness reviews and Plan revisions as necessary.
  • Recordkeeping requirements concerning retention of violence hazard identification, evaluation and correction records, training records, violent incident logs, and investigation records.

July 18, 2022 is the last date Cal/OSHA will accept written public comment on the proposed draft regulations.

In the meantime, to maintain a safe workplace, as generally required (in California and Arizona), employers should work to identify and address potential workplace violence security hazards. Cal/OSHA suggests employers include the following in any existing IIPP to address workplace violence security:

  • A policy statement that conveys the employer’s commitment to a “safe, healthful and secure working environment.” Especially the type of workplace violence which involves a violent act or threat of violence by a current or former employee or the spouse, relative, friend or another person who may have a dispute with an employee.
  • Assigning responsibility to a safety coordinator or other designated responsible employee for addressing workplace security issues and implementing provisions for the IIPP dealing with workplace security.
  • Communicating the company’s workplace security policies, procedures and practices during onboarding, training programs, safety committee meetings.
  • Posting security information and developing a system that encourages employee to report safety hazards including threats of violence without fear of retaliation.
  • Providing safety training for new hires or when unrecognized security hazards arise.
  • Document workplace security issues such as inspections, corrective actions and trainings.

Members with questions about existing IIPP requirements or how to incorporate workplace violence prevention into an existing IIPP should contact Western Growers.

[i] Employers with no workplace violence incidents in the past five years would be exempt from log maintenance.