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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about California’s SB 553

 1. What is California’s SB 553 law?
SB 553 is a law enacted in California that mandates employers implement a comprehensive workplace violence prevention plan by July 1, 2024. The law includes several key components:

2. What are the key components of a Workplace Violence Prevention Plan?

    Workplace Violence Prevention Plan (WVPP): Employers must develop, implement, and maintain a detailed plan to prevent workplace violence.

  • Risk Assessments: Regular assessments are required to identify potential workplace violence risks.
  • Employee Training: Mandatory training for employees to recognize and respond to workplace violence.
  • Incident Reporting and Investigative Processes: Procedures for reporting violent incidents, along with proper documentation and record-keeping.
  • Methods to evaluate and improve the plan regularly

3. Who is required to comply with SB 553?
SB 553 applies to most employers in California with the following exceptions:

  1. Worksites with fewer than 10 employees that are not accessible to the public
  2. Teleworking employees
  3. Healthcare facilities, which are covered under a separate OSHA mandate
  4. California law enforcement and departments of corrections agencies participating in the POST program

4. How does SB 553 define workplace violence?
Workplace violence under SB 553 includes any act or threat of physical violence, harassment, intimidation, or other threatening disruptive behavior that occurs at the work site. It can range from verbal threats to physical assaults.

5. What types of Violence are classified under SB 553

  • Type I: Criminal Intent
    This type involves a perpetrator who has no legitimate relationship to the business or its employees. The primary motive is often theft or other criminal activity. Examples include robbers, trespassers, or anyone committing a crime at the workplace.
  • Type II: Customer/Client
    In this type, the perpetrator has a legitimate relationship with the business and becomes violent while being served by the business. This category includes customers, clients, patients, students, inmates, or any other individual for whom the business provides services. It is the most common source of workplace violence in healthcare settings.
  • Type III: Worker-on-Worker
    Worker-on-worker violence occurs when an employee or past employee of the business attacks or threatens another employee. This includes incidents of workplace bullying, harassment, and physical altercations among coworkers.
  • Type IV: Personal Relationship
    This type involves a perpetrator who has a personal relationship with an employee but no relationship with the business. This often includes cases of domestic violence that spill over into the workplace, where the victim is targeted at their place of employment.

6. What needs to be included in employee training?

  • Recognizing the signs of potential workplace violence
  • How to respond to incidents safely
  • Reporting procedures
  • De-escalation techniques
  • Emergency response plans

7. How often must the Workplace Violence Prevention Plan be updated?
The WVPP should be reviewed and updated regularly, particularly after any workplace violence incident or when new risks are identified. Annual reviews are recommended to ensure the plan remains effective and up-to-date.

8. What are the penalties for non-compliance with SB 553?
Non-compliance with SB 553 can result in fines and penalties from regulatory agencies. It can also expose employers to increased liability in the event of a workplace violence incident.

9. What information needs to be documented for incidents of workplace violence?
Employers should maintain detailed records of all incidents, including:

  • Date, time, and location of the incident
  • Description of what occurred
  • Individuals involved
  • Actions taken in response
  • Follow-up measures implemented

10. How long do incident logs need to be kept?
California’s SB 553 mandates that incident logs for workplace violence be kept for a minimum of five years. This is to ensure that records are available for review by regulatory agencies and for any necessary follow-up investigations.

9. What actions are employees required to take in the Workplace Violence Prevention Plan?

  • Reporting potential hazards and incidents
  • Participating in training and drills
  • Following the established procedures for preventing and responding to violence

10. How can companies assess the effectiveness of their Workplace Violence Prevention Plan?

  • Regular reviews and audits of the WVPP
  • Feedback from employees and safety committees
  • Analysis of incident reports and trends
  • Implementing improvements based on assessment findings

11. What resources are available to help companies comply with SB 553?
Resources include:

    • Templates and guidelines from regulatory agencies
      Cal/OSHA Workplace Violence Prevention Guidance and Resources: This page offers comprehensive guidance on developing and implementing a workplace violence prevention plan as required by SB 553. It includes educational materials, model programs, and templates for creating a compliant plan. You can access these resources on the Cal/OSHA website.
      California Department of Industrial Relations The DIR provides a Model Workplace Violence Prevention Plan that can be tailored to fit different workplaces. It includes required elements such as hazard assessment, employee training, and incident reporting procedures. More information is available on the DIR website.

12. How can an external investigative team help with compliance?

      • Conducting risk assessments
      • Investigating incidents thoroughly
      • Providing recommendations for improvement
      • Offering training and resources for employees

The JL Group is available to provide the investigative expertise needed in the case of a reported incident. This material content does not constitute legal advice. Contact your legal advisor for legal guidance. Contact us immediately for help investigating workplace violence and other workplace conduct issues.