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SB 553 Workplace Violence Prevention: What California Employers Need to Know

By Eli Mendoza, Alliant Construction

Businesses operating in California will have to comply with new workplace violence measures signed into law by Governor Newsom on September 30, 2023, as Senate Bill (SB) 553. It defines workplace violence as any act of violence or threat of violence that occurs in a place of employment. The bill requires employers to establish a Workplace Violence Prevention Plan (WVPP), document incidents of workplace violence and train employees on how to identify workplace violence hazards by July 1, 2024.

SB 553 applies to California employers. State law defines “employer” as any person engaged in any business or enterprise in California if they employ at least one person under any appointment.

State law authorizes Cal/OSHA to enforce compliance with SB 553, extending this authority by granting Cal/OSHA access to workplace violence incident logs and employer WVPP. The agency is granted authority to issue citations and impose sanctions on non-compliant employers.

The Alliant Loss Control team is at the forefront of regulatory changes and updates and is well versed at partnering with clients in the planning, development and implementation of effective workplace violence prevention plans.

SB 553 FAQ

July 1, 2024: Effective this date, employers are required to establish, implement and maintain at all times and in all work areas an effective workplace violence prevention plan and violent incident log, and provide effective training to employees.

January 1, 2025: Provisions of the SB 553 language will allow the unions collective bargaining employee representatives to request temporary restraining orders and orders after hearing on behalf of employees affected by workplace violence events.

  1. Written Workplace Violence Prevention Plan (WVPP)
  2. Required employee training
  3. Workplace violent incident log
  4. Recordkeeping guidelines


The employer shall provide effective training to employees. The material shall be appropriate in content and vocabulary to the educational level, literacy and language of employees.  

Training shall be provided when the WVPP is first established and annually thereafter, on all the following:

  • The WVPP, definitions, how to obtain a copy and how to participate in the plan.
  • How to report workplace violence incidents without fear of reprisal.
  • Workplace violence hazards specific to the employees’ jobs, corrective measures, how to seek assistance, respond to violence and strategies to avoid physical harm.
  • The violent incident log and how to obtain copies of records.
  • An opportunity for interactive questions and answers.
  • When a new or previously unrecognized workplace violence hazard has been identified.

Training records should include dates, 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. There is currently no minimum timeframe requirement on length of training.

Yes, employers are required to document details and description of the incident, eliminating personable identifiable information, and classify the incident as one of the following types:

  • Type 1: Committed by a person who has no legitimate business at the worksite, and anyone who enters the workplace or approaches workers with the intent to commit a crime.
  • Type 2: Directed at employees by customers, clients, patients, students, inmates or visitors.
  • Type 3: Violence against an employee by a present or former employee.
  • Type 4: Violence committed in the workplace by a person who does not work there but has or is known to have had a personal relationship with an employee.
  • Workplace violence hazard identification, evaluations and correction records – 5 years
  • Workplace records of incident investigations – 5 years
  • Violent incident log – 5 years
  • Training records – 1 year

Yes, if the injury caused by workplace violence meets the recordability criteria as defined by Cal/OSHA recordkeeping and serious injury reporting guidelines. The employer may have to record the serious injury on the OSHA 300 log and report to Cal/OSHA if the severity warrants. This is in addition to recording the incident on the workplace violent incident log required by SB 553.

SB 553 is specific to California and enforceable by Cal/OSHA. Any location or office in California is subject to the requirements of SB553. There is no exemption for entities headquartered in other states. If you do business in CA expect to comply.

The workplace violence prevention plan may be integrated as part of a company’s existing Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP) or added as a standalone program. It is recommended to add the WVPP as a standalone document. This option will facilitate updates as needed to ensure compliance with additional requirements.

Companies with multiple locations can operate under one corporate plan; however, each location may have unique circumstances that could warrant a location specific plan. The plan shall be in effect at all times and in all work areas and be specific to the hazards and corrective measures for each work area and operation.

Alliant Insurance Services’ Loss Control team is at the forefront of industry developments, monitoring and working with regulatory partners to ensure our clients’ compliance. We will provide additional guidance as Cal/OSHA issues its approved language. 

For more information, visit Safety & Loss Control. 

Alliant note and disclaimer: This document is designed to provide general information and guidance. Please note that prior to implementation your legal counsel should review all details or policy information. Alliant Insurance Services does not provide legal advice or legal opinions. If a legal opinion is needed, please seek the services of your own legal advisor or ask Alliant Insurance Services for a referral. This document is provided on an “as is” basis without any warranty of any kind. Alliant Insurance Services disclaims any liability for any loss or damage from reliance on this document.