By Trüpp

Starting July 1, 2024, California employers are subject to new workplace violence training requirements designed to enhance employee safety and ensure comprehensive prevention strategies are in place. This new legislation does not include an implementation grace period, meaning compliance by the deadline is mandatory.

What is workplace violence?

According to the State of California Department of Industrial Relations website, Per Labor Code section 6401.9, “workplace violence” is defined as any act of violence or threat of violence that occurs in a place of employment. This includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • The threat or use of physical force against an employee that results in, or has a high likelihood of resulting in, injury, psychological trauma, or stress, regardless of whether the employee sustains an injury.
  • An incident involving a threat or use of a firearm or other dangerous weapon, including the use of common objects as weapons, regardless of whether the employee sustains an injury.
  • The four types of workplace violence (criminal intent, customer/client, worker-on-worker, personal relationship) defined in Labor Code section 6401.9.

Key Requirements and Deadlines

Training deadline

Employers must complete initial training by July 1, 2024. This training must be conducted annually thereafter.

Immediate implementation

There is no grace period for implementing these requirements. Employers must establish, implement, and maintain an effective Workplace Violence Prevention Plan without delay.

Essential Components of a Workplace Violence Prevention Plan (WVPP)

Employers need to develop a comprehensive and location-specific Workplace Violence Prevention Plan (WVPP). A one-size-fits-all corporate strategy will not suffice for this purpose. The WVPP must address specific hazards and corrective measures relevant to each work area and operation.

Required elements of the WVPP

  • Responsibility identification: Clearly identify the names or job titles of persons responsible for implementing the plan.
  • Employee involvement: Ensure active involvement of employees and authorized representatives in both the development and implementation phases.
  • Hazard identification and correction: Implement procedures to identify, evaluate, and correct workplace violence hazards.
  • Communication: Establish effective communication strategies to inform employees about workplace violence matters.
  • Training: Provide effective training, which includes interactive Q&A sessions with knowledgeable personnel about the employer’s WVPP.
  • Emergency response: Develop and maintain procedures for responding to actual or potential workplace violence incidents.
  • Incident reporting and non-retaliation: Accept and respond to reports of workplace violence and prohibit retaliation against employees for such reporting.
  • Post-incident procedures: Establish procedures for post-incident response and investigation.
  • Plan review and revision: review on an annual basis or as needed and revise the WVPP to ensure its effectiveness.

Additional training and record-keeping requirements

Training requirements

  • The training must provide opportunities for interactive questions and answers with knowledgeable personnel.

Record-keeping requirements

  • Maintain records of workplace violence hazard identification, evaluation, and correction for a minimum of five years.
  • Retain workplace violence prevention plan training records for at least one year.
  • Keep Violence Incident Logs and incident investigation records for a minimum of five years.
  • Preserve Cal/OSHA Form 300 for five years.

Exceptions

Certain workplaces are exempt from the new requirements:

  • Employees working remotely from locations of their choice that are not under the employer’s control.
  • Worksites with fewer than ten employees present at any given time and are not accessible to the public.
  • Health care settings

Enforcement and compliance

The Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) will enforce these requirements. Employers must immediately report any serious injury, illness, or death of an employee resulting from workplace violence to Cal/OSHA.

California employers must act swiftly to comply with these new workplace violence training requirements. By establishing, implementing, and maintaining a comprehensive and effective WVPP, employers can significantly reduce the risk of workplace violence and ensure a safer working environment for all employees. Active involvement from both management and employees is crucial to the success of these prevention efforts.

For additional information, visit the State of California Department of Industrial Relations website here.

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