By July 1, 2024, California employers will be required to implement specific measures for workplace safety. This legislation compels most non-health care related businesses to review and develop certain workplace violence measures by mandating the creation, execution, ongoing maintenance, and employee training of a Workplace Violence Prevention Plan (WVPP). Below, we outline five issues California employers need to understand in meeting these requirements by the July 1 deadline:

1. Determine if your business is a covered employer that must develop a WVPP.

The new requirements under the new law apply to all employers, employees, places of employment, and employer-provided housing, except for the following:

  1. Employees teleworking from a location of the employee’s choice, which is not under the control of the employer.
  2. Places of employment where there are less than 10 employees working at the place at any given time and that are not accessible to the public, if the places are in compliance with Section 3203 of Title 8 of the California Code of Regulations.
  3. Health care facilities, service categories, and operations covered by Section 3342 of Title 8 of the California Code of Regulations.
  4. Employers that comply with Section 3342 of Title 8 of the California Code of Regulations in the health care setting.
  5. Facilities operated by the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, if the facilities are in compliance with Section 3203 of Title 8 of the California Code of Regulations.
  6. Employers that are law enforcement agencies that are a “department or participating department,” as defined in the California Code of Regulations and meet other requirements.

The exceptions are vary limited, and most employers in California will need to take steps to comply with the requirements by July 1, 2024.

2. Prepare a written plan by July 1, 2024.

For covered employers under the law, an essential first step in violence prevention is conducting comprehensive risk assessments to identify potential hazards that could lead to workplace violence. Factors such as working conditions, the nature of the employment, and interactions with the public can all contribute to risk. Employers need to evaluate these factors to develop targeted prevention strategies.

Covered employers must craft a detailed WVPP that outlines the responsibilities of all parties involved, incorporates employee and representative involvement, and establishes clear protocols for handling and responding to incidents of workplace violence. This plan should include procedures for emergency responses, effective training programs, and methods for identifying, evaluating, and mitigating violence hazards.

Cal/OSHA published a model written Workplace Violence Prevention Plan for General Industry (Non-Health Care settings), which is available as a resource guide for employers.  Employers may download the model form as a Word document here. 

3. Conduct employee training about the plan by July 1, 2024.

Employers are required to train the employees by July 1, 2024, and annually thereafter.  Employers may prepare and conduct the required training on their own, and there is not a required length of time for the training (as opposed to the 1 hour or 2-hour training requirements for sexual harassment prevention training).  However, the regulations do set out some parameters for the training.  For example, the training material must be appropriate in content and vocabulary to the educational level, literacy, and language of employees

The training needs to cover all of the following topics:

(A) The employer’s plan, how to obtain a copy of the employer’s plan at no cost, and how to participate in development and implementation of the employer’s plan.

(B) The definitions and requirements of this section.

(C) How to report workplace violence incidents or concerns to the employer or law enforcement without fear of reprisal.

(D) Workplace violence hazards specific to the employees’ jobs, the corrective measures the employer has implemented, how to seek assistance to prevent or respond to violence, and strategies to avoid physical harm.

(E) The violent incident log required and how to obtain copies of records.

(F) An opportunity for interactive questions and answers with a person knowledgeable about the employer’s plan.

Cal/OSHA requires additional training when a new or previously unrecognized workplace violence hazard has been identified and when changes are made to the plan. The additional training may be limited to addressing the new workplace violence hazard or changes to the plan.

Employers may consider implementing this training at the end of the sexual harassment prevention training for new employees.  However, remember that the violence prevention plan training must be done each year, and the sexual harassment prevention training is only once every two years, so employers will still need to conduct standalone violence prevention plan trainings each year. 

4. Review Cal/OSHA’s FAQs and other resources to stay informed.

Cal/OSHA’s FAQs on the WVPP are published here.  Employers should review the FAQs, and revisit them regularly to learn about any updates or additional clarifications made by Cal/OSHA. 

5. Maintain and review compliance records.

Compliance with the new legislation includes thorough documentation and record-keeping related to the WVPP. Employers must keep detailed records of all violence prevention efforts, including hazard identification and mitigation, training sessions, incident responses, and investigations. Examples of incident logs are included in the model Workplace Violence Prevention Plan published by Cal-OSHA.  Violent incident logs are required to be kept by the employer for five years.