The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), reports workplace violence is the second leading cause of fatal workplace injuries in the United States, affecting almost 2 million American workers every year.

Organizations in California are now required to establish, implement, and maintain an effective written Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP), as well as other safety & health programs to reduce risk of exposure to hazards and prevent injuries and illnesses in workplaces. As of July 1, 2024, employers must establish, implement and maintain an effective written Workplace Violence Prevention Plan (WVPP). Senate Bill 553 requires employers to adopt a written prevention plan as either an independent document or as part of a general injury and illness prevention program. They must also provide training to prevent and respond to on-the-job threats of violence.

What to Know

•  Who Must Comply
The workplace violence prevention plan requirement is the first of its kind in the United States to apply to employers in all industries. It applies to nearly all employers, except:

  • Employers covered by Cal/OSHA’s violence prevention in health care standard.
  • Employees who telework from a location outside the control of the employer.
  • Locations not open to the public with less than 10 employees present at one time.

•  Plan Requirements
Prepare your workplace violence prevention plan as early as possible. The plan must be in writing and easily accessible to employees. The plan must include:

  • The job titles of people responsible for developing and implementing the plan.
  • Effective procedures to accept and respond to reports of workplace violence, and to prohibit retaliation against an employee who reports an incident.
  • Effective procedures to communicate with employees about: (1) how to report violent incidents, threats, or workplace violence concerns to employer or law enforcement; and (2) how concerns will be investigated, and results communicated.
  • Effective procedures to respond to actual or potential workplace violence emergencies.
  • Review the process for the workplace violence prevention plan annually, when deficiency is cited or becomes apparent, and after a workplace violence incident.

•  Training
SB 553 also requires employers to provide effective training to employees, appropriate to the educational level, literacy, and language of employees. Employees must have initial training when the workplace violence prevention plan is first established. Thereafter, employers must continue to conduct annual trainings. Training must cover the following:

  • The employer’s workplace violence prevention plan and violent incident log, and how employees can obtain a copy.
  • How to report workplace violence hazards and workplace violence incidents.
  • Workplace violence hazards specific to the employees’ jobs.
  • How to seek assistance to prevent or respond to violence, and strategies to avoid harm.
  • An opportunity for interactive questions and answers with a person knowledgeable about the workplace violence prevention plan.

Employers must provide additional training when new or previously unrecognized workplace violence hazards are identified, or when there are changes to the plan. Employers must retain training records for a least one year, and must include the dates the training occurred, contents or a summary of the training sessions, names and qualifications of persons conducting the training, and names and job titles of all persons attending the training sessions.

•  Recording and Reporting
Employers must maintain violent incident logs detailing workplace violence incidents. The violent incident log must be based on the information solicited from the employees who experienced the workplace violence, and include the following:

  • Date, time, and location of the incident and information about the person completing the log (name, job title, date).
  • Detailed description of the incident and classification of circumstances at the time of the incident (i.e. whether the employee was completing usual job duties, working in a poorly lit area, rushed, working alone, etc.).
  • Classification of who committed the violence (i.e. client, customer, family, friend, stranger, supervisor, etc.).
  • The violence type, including whether it was a physical attack or threat, whether weapons or other objects were involved, or whether it was a sexual assault.
  • Consequences of incidents, including if security or law enforcement was contacted and whether actions were taken to protect employees from a continuing threat.

Employers must retain the log for five years and omit any element of personal identifying information sufficient to allow identification of any person involved in a violent incident. These records must be produced to Cal/OSHA upon request. Employees are entitled to view and copy the log within 15 calendar days of a request.

Seeking Help?

CHROs2Go is here to help with the compliance steps, to assist with plan development, training resources, fact sheet preparation and management coaching on procedures and duties for employee protection. Reach out with questions or requests for advisory support. Contact Donna Hamlin at or 510-517-7791.