Prepare For California’s New Workplace Violence Law In 5 Steps

By Daniel Young | April 23, 2024 | 3 min read
California law

This summer, a new law will go into effect in the state of California requiring nearly all California employers to adopt and implement a written Workplace Violence Prevention Plan.

California Senate Bill (SB) No. 553 requires that employers have a workplace prevention plan in place by July 1, 2024. Employers are also required to keep a workplace violence incident log, provide training to employees regarding workplace violence, and keep records of identified and remediated risks.

Although adopting a proactive plan to address violence in the workplace is a positive step, this new law is a big change for many businesses, particularly for smaller organizations with no department that owns physical security.

How can you prepare for the new workplace violence law?

1. Think beyond compliance

To assist organizations in creating their own plans, the California Division of Occupational Health and Safety (Cal/OSHA) has provided a model plan. It’s tempting to simply download the template, fill in your own information and decide that you’ve checked a box for compliance.

However, this is not a good idea. If you just do the bare minimum and there’s an incident, you will be held to as high a level of responsibility as if you had prepared a bespoke workforce violence plan. The last thing you want is to be caught saying you have countermeasures and policies in place when you don’t.

2. Understand the minimum requirements under the law

Cal/OSHA’s template is a useful tool; it shows non-security personnel what a workplace violence plan looks like, and what your plan needs to include. Understand the minimum requirements you’ll need to meet, and then create a risk assessment based on those requirements. This will help you understand your physical security posture right now.

3. Assess your current risk

The next step is to conduct a baseline gap analysis. Before you can make changes, you need to know if the minimum requirements of the new law are already being met at your sites. Do you already have a plan in place to address workplace violence? What does your existing training include?

4. Use this information to build a plan

Once you know where your deficiencies are, you can use that data to build a plan (or modify Cal/OSHA’s template) that fits your organization’s specific needs. For example, if one of your sites has a history of incidents, your plan is likely to focus more resources on that site.

5. Implement, maintain and revisit your plan

You can’t just put your plan in writing and be done. Your workforce violence plan is a living document; you will also be engaged in training, risk analysis, case management, accountability and reporting. You also need to make sure that all of your locations are in compliance.

How can physical security assessment software help?

Preventing workforce violence is not a passive responsibility. Until recently, however, businesses have taken a passive approach to physical security, reacting to risks after an incident.

California’s new law is changing that, forcing companies to become more proactive about preventing workplace violence, by logging incidents and making plans to reduce risk. Physical security assessment software makes assessing risk simple, empowering your organization to easily assess your sites’ inherent risk and track remediation. This makes logging incidents and tracking risk simple, as opposed to using paper checklists - which can get lost - or spreadsheets - which can get copied and resaved.

Physical security assessment software, like Circadian Risk’s digital platform, serves as a single source of truth when it comes to your organization’s risk, and reduces the burden of manual assessment and risk analysis.

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