Decoding California's Workplace Violence Prevention Law
Governor Gavin Newsom just made it official – Senate Bill 533 is now the law. Starting July 1st, 2024, covered employers must adopt California’s workplace violence prevention law as part of their Cal/OSHA Injury Illness Prevention to mitigate workplace violence.
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is working towards implementing a new standard for the healthcare and social assistance industries nationwide. California is the first state to make these requirements applicable to employers.
In this blog, you will understand the ins and outs of California’s workplace prevention law and the requirements needed to achieve compliance.
Table of Contents:
What is Workplace Violence
Workplace violence encompasses any act or threat of physical violence, harassment, intimidation, or disruptive behavior that occurs at the workplace. This includes a wide range of threats including verbal abuse, physical abuse, and, in extreme cases, homicide.
Workplace violence can impact employees, clients, customers, and visitors. Notably, acts of violence and other injuries currently rank as the third-leading cause of fatal occupational injuries in the United States.
What is California’s Workplace Violence Prevention Law?
As of September 30, 2023, California implemented pioneering general industry workplace violence prevention safety regulations—the first of their kind in the United States. These regulations are universally applicable to almost all California employers, with only a handful of exceptions.
Note that SB 428 and SB 553 have also brought amendments to the California Code of Civil Procedure section 527.8, enhancing provisions related to seeking restraining orders to prevent workplace violence. This signifies a significant step in prioritizing safety measures within the state's workplaces.
Which Entities are Required to Adhere to California's Workplace Violence Prevention Regulation?
The law requires all employers to comply with California’s workplace violence prevention regulation except for:
Certain healthcare facilitates.
Certain law enforcement and correctional facilities.
Employees working remotely in a location that is not managed by their employer.
Work locations that are not open to the public and have less than 10 employees present at any given time.
What Should Your Workplace Violence Prevention Plan Include?
To meet compliance standards, your workplace violence prevention plan should incorporate:
Written Workplace Violence Prevention Plan
This plan should include:
The name and job title of the person responsible for implementing your workplace violence prevention plan.
Protocols for the employer to receive and address reports of workplace violence, while expressly prohibiting any retaliation against an employee who submits such a report.
Established protocols for employers to receive and address reports of workplace violence, with a specific emphasis on prohibiting any form of retaliation against employees who file such reports.
Mechanisms to inform employees about workplace violence emergencies including where and when the occurrence happened.
Customized sheltering and evacuation plans that fit your workplace specific needs.
Information about how workplace violence prevention will be addressed and how employees will be informed of the results.
A plan to actively involve your employees in the creation and execution of a workplace violence prevention plan.
Procedures to review the effectiveness of your workplace violence prevention plan and make the appropriate changes if needed.
Employee Training to Prevent Workplace Violence
Having a trained staff that is aware of workplace violence and its “red flags” is crucial to ensure your staff’s, stakeholders, and client safety. Staff members that can deescalate and deal with heated situations can effectively prevent workplace violence while ensuring everyone's safety.
Detailed Log & Reporting Procedures
Starting July 1, 2024, employers are required to keep a record of all reports regarding violence or threats and the actions taken by the employer to ensure compliance with California’s workplace prevention plan. This log should not include any personally identifiable information.
These records need to be kept for at least five years and must be provided to the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) upon request. Failure to maintain the log correctly may result in fines for employers.
What Industries Experience the Most Violence?
According to the US. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) there's a higher rate of workplace violence in the following facilities.
Convenience stores, especially those that are open after hours or operate on a 24/7 model.
Ride hailing services.
Customer service offices.
Establishments where alcohol is served such as bars, casinos, clubs, and restaurants.
Workplace Violence Statistics
In 2020, there were 392 workplace homicides and 37,060 nonfatal injuries caused by intentional harm from another person, as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
The five occupational groups with the highest number of workplace homicides were sales, transportation and material moving, management, construction and extraction, and production.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI), out of the 5,333 fatal workplace injuries in the United States in 2019, 761 were cases of intentional injury by another person.
This highlights the significance of addressing and preventing workplace violence for the well-being and safety of individuals in various work settings.
Need Help to Comply with California’s Workplace Violence Prevention Law?
Here at BTI we have more than 35+ years helping organizations reach their security goals through our comprehensive security solutions and support services. Our vast experience and customized solutions allow us to deliver cost effective solutions that meet your specific industry compliance.
It does not matter if you are a small business or an enterprise-level organization. If you are looking for a partner that can help you plan, implement, and maintain compliance with the upcoming California workplace violence prevention law you are in the right place!
Ready to ensure compliance while reducing your costs? Contact us today and schedule a free business assessment.