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California’s Newly Mandated Workplace Violence Prevention Plan: Essential Insights and Resources for Employers

In the absence of a federal mandate on workplace violence plans and awareness, individual states are beginning to implement their own regulations. Starting July 1, 2024, California will require a workplace violence prevention plan.

As this deadline approaches, Cornerstone PEO wants to ensure you understand what workplace violence is, how to implement this prevention plan, and what it means for both employers and employees.

Workplace Violence can vary depending on the severity of the violence and the place of work, as implied by the verbiage. Regardless of the severity or type of violence encountered at specific worksites, all instances of workplace violence should be taken seriously and regarded as a major concern for both employers and employees.

Workplace Violence Addressed by OSHA

The Occupational Healthy and Safety Administration (OSHA) defines workplace violence as: any act or threat of physical violence, harassment, intimidation, or other threatening disruptive behavior that occurs at the work site. It ranges from threats and verbal abuse to physical assaults and even homicide. It can affect and involve employees, clients, customers, and visitors.”

There are currently no specific OSHA standards for workplace violence. However, under the General Duty Clause, Section 5(a)(1) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are required to provide their employees with a place of employment that is “free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm."

Workplace Violence is present in many organizations, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI), of the 5,333 fatal workplace injuries that occurred in the United States in 2019, 761 were cases of intentional injury by another person.

OSHA believes that a well-written and implemented workplace violence prevention program, combined with engineering controls, administrative controls, and training can reduce the incidence of workplace violence in both the private sector and federal workplaces.


For more information on OSHA’s recommended methods for reducing the likelihood of workplace violence, click on the link below.

California SB 553 Details

The State of California is taking a significant step towards promoting safer workplaces and eliminating violence by mandating comprehensive workplace violence training for all employees.

The newly enacted law requires all employers to implement a workplace violence prevention plan. Enforcement of this mandate will commence on July 1, 2024. In preparation, it is crucial for employers to understand how to access, comprehend, and implement this plan effectively.

To gain a comprehensive understanding of how to implement the Workplace Violence Prevention Plan in compliance with California state requirements, we recommend downloading the link below for an accurate overview, including specific details.

California Workplace Violence Prevention Plan PDF
Download PDF • 814KB

For a simplified overview of the forthcoming employer mandates, we have provided a partial detail list below.

Overview of prevention plan requirements:

  • All employers, employees, places of employment, and employer-provided housing must comply with the new Labor Code requirements, except those listed in subsection (b) of Labor Code 6401.9.

  • Every covered employer is required to establish, implement, and maintain an effective workplace violence prevention plan.

  • The prevention plan must include:

    • Procedures to ensure compliance from employees, including supervisors.

    • Emergency response protocols.

    • Training provisions.

    • Procedures to timely correct workplace violence hazards identified and evaluated.

    • Procedures for post-incident response and investigation.

  • Employers must maintain a log of all incidents of workplace violence even if the incident did not result in injury.

  • Employers must provide effective training and ensure that training materials are easy to understand and match the workers’ education, reading skills, and language.

  • Employers must provide employees with an initial training and annually thereafter.

  • A comprehensive training for each employee depending on their position within the organization.

  • The training must include an outline of Labor Code section 6401.9, how to report workplace violence without fear of retaliation, how to participate in the development and implementation of the plan, and more details specific to each employee.

  • Plan must be in writing and available to all employees and Cal/OSHA representatives.

This summary is intended as an overview and does not encompass the full extent of the forthcoming requirements. The above list provides a concise summary of the newly mandated Workplace Violence Prevention Plan, which will come into effect on July 1, 2024.

At Cornerstone PEO, we strongly advise a thorough review of the entire California Senate Bill 553, specifically Labor Code 6401, to fully understand the obligations of both employers and employees in California. To download the Senate Bill PDF, click on the link provided below.

California Senate Bill 553
Download PDF • 594KB

For further inquiries, please contact the Cornerstone PEO team; we are available to offer additional information and assistance.


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