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California's New Workplace Violence Prevention Mandate: Employers Must Know

Updated: Apr 26


In a pivotal move to enhance workplace safety, California has introduced a mandate that requires employers to take a proactive stance against workplace violence. Governor Gavin Newsom's signing of Senate Bill 553 last year marked the beginning of a new era in workplace safety standards. The essence of this bill is the proactive engagement of both employers and employees in forging a safe work environment, underscored by a series of detailed requirements:


  • Active Development: Employers must collaboratively work with employees to develop a violence prevention plan tailored to their specific workplace.

  • Mandatory Training: Initial and annual training sessions are required for all employees, emphasizing the plan's contents and workplace-specific hazard awareness.

  • Ongoing Assessments: The legislation mandates regular workplace violence hazard inspections, evaluations, and adjustments based on identified risks.

  • Incident Management: Employers are tasked with investigating all workplace violence incidents, maintaining a comprehensive incident log, and fulfilling additional record-keeping obligations.


As the compliance deadline of July 1, 2024, draws near, understanding and implementing the requirements of this bill is crucial for employers across the state.


For additional information regarding workplace violence prevention, and to find out how this could impact your business, please contact our Managing Partner, Richard Liu, at

Cal/OSHA Model Plan


To facilitate compliance with this new standard, the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) has become an indispensable resource for employers. Cal/OSHA has published a Model Written Workplace Violence Prevention Plan for General Industry (Non-Healthcare Settings) (“Model Plan”), providing a comprehensive guide that includes:


  • An overview of the legislative requirements.

  • Detailed instructions for drafting an effective workplace violence prevention plan.

  • A framework that outlines all the essential components of the plan, offering customization options based on specific worksite requirements.

  • Practical examples and fill-in-the-blank sections to aid employers in developing a plan that’s both compliant and tailored to their unique needs.

Employers are encouraged to consider this model plan as a starting point. It's designed to streamline the plan development process, ensuring that all legislative requirements are met without overwhelming the employer.


Critical Elements of an Effective Workplace Violence Prevention Plan


The success of a workplace violence prevention plan hinges on its comprehensiveness and clarity. Key elements that must be included are:


  • Identification of the personnel responsible for the plan's implementation, with a clear description of their roles.

  • Strategies for coordinating with other employers to ensure a unified approach to violence prevention.

  • Active involvement of employees and their representatives in the plan's implementation process.

  • A non-retaliatory mechanism for reporting workplace violence incidents.

  • Training programs as mandated by the legislation, aimed at both supervisory and non-supervisory staff.

  • A methodical approach to identifying, evaluating, and mitigating workplace violence hazards.

  • Regular reviews of the plan’s effectiveness, with revisions as necessary to address evolving workplace safety needs.


With the July 1, 2024 deadline rapidly approaching, employers are urged to begin drafting their workplace violence prevention plans sooner rather than later. Cal/OSHA's model plan offers a valuable foundation, enabling employers to comply with the legislative requirements effectively and efficiently.


Looking Forward: Employer Action Plan


With no definitive state-provided model plan anticipated due to the requirement for active employer and employee involvement, organizations are encouraged to take a bespoke approach to their workplace violence prevention strategies. Essential steps include:


  • Early development of a customized violence prevention plan.

  • Engaging employees in plan development and training through surveys or other initiatives.

  • Assessing the need for location-specific or job-specific plans.

  • Considering the adoption of written plans for workplaces not explicitly covered by SB 553 as a best practice.


For additional information regarding workplace violence prevention, and to find out how this could impact your business, please contact our Managing Partner, Richard Liu, at

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Richard Liu, Managing Partner, ILS

Richard Liu, Esq. is the Managing Counsel of ILS. He serves clients as a management-side defense lawyer specializing in employment and business litigation. Richard is also an expert on litigation prevention and compliance. He regularly advises Fortune 500 companies and startups on employment, labor, and commercial matters.

Email: | Phone: 626-344-8949

*Disclaimer: This article does not constitute legal opinion and does not create any attorney-client relationship


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