October 6, 2023

California Enacts Groundbreaking Workplace Violence Prevention Safety Requirements

On September 30, 2023, California Governor Newsom signed SB 553, a new workplace violence law. The new law will apply to almost all California employers, with few exceptions.

Starting July 1, 2024, covered employers in California are mandated to:

  • Develop and implement a workplace violence prevention plan that meets the law’s specific standards;
  • Maintain a violent incident log to record any violent workplace incidents or threats;
  • Provide comprehensive training to all employees on workplace violence prevention; and
  • Keep records related to the workplace violence prevention plan to ensure compliance. These records must be maintained for at least five years and produced to Cal/OSHA upon request.

The unusual aspect of the legislature’s involvement in this case is that it directly implemented workplace violence prevention requirements through SB 553, rather than following the traditional process where Cal/OSHA, in collaboration with stakeholders, develops such regulations.

SB 553 created the substantive requirements itself and then directed Cal/OSHA to implement corresponding regulations, which is a departure from the usual regulatory development process. This legislative intervention was driven by the bill sponsor’s concerns that the Cal/OSHA process was moving too slowly, exacerbated by a high-profile workplace shooting incident in 2021.