California recently passed Senate Bill 553 (CA SB 553), a new workplace violence prevention law. The law goes into effect July 1, 2024. As a result, many employers in California are required to develop, implement, and maintain a written Workplace Violence Prevention Plan (WVPP). This law does not have an implementation grace period.

Even if you are a California employer, there is a chance the new law may not apply to your agency. If your agency has less than ten employees working at a place that is not accessible to the public or if you have employees teleworking from a location of the employee’s choice that is not under the control of the employer” then you don’t need to comply with the new law. 

However, if your agency doesn’t meet that exception, then read on to find out what you have to do.

Legal Requirements of CA SB 553

The new law aims to enhance workplace safety by mandating specific measures for the prevention of workplace violence in non-healthcare settings. The bill builds on the state’s existing safety regulations and introduces new requirements to protect employees across various industries. 

If the law applies to your agency, then in addition to a WVPP, you must: 

  • record violent workplace incidents or threats in a violent incident log
  • provide effective training to all employees
  • maintain records regarding the workplace violence prevention plan

What Does the Workplace Violence Law Mean for Creative Agencies?

If this law applies to your agency, then by July 1, 2024, you must put a WVPP in place. The WVPP must include procedures for identifying and evaluating workplace violence hazards, methods for correcting these hazards, and a system for ensuring that employees comply with safe and healthy work practices.

If you don’t comply with the new law, then an employee can file a complaint with the state against your agency triggering an inspection. Failure to comply may also result in further violations, fines, and other penalties from Cal/​OSHA. 

Below are some steps your agency can take to ensure compliance with the new law. 

1. Develop Your WVPP

Conduct a comprehensive assessment of your workplace to identify potential hazards related to workplace violence. Create a detailed WVPP that addresses these hazards and outlines specific preventive measures and response procedures.

The State of California has some helpful information regarding workplace violence prevention on their website, including a template WVPP you can download and customize for your agency. We recommend looking at their information and using their template WVPP to make your compliance as easy as possible (no need to reinvent the wheel here).

2. Employee Training 

Employers must provide training to employees on the WVPP. This training should cover recognizing potential hazards, methods to prevent workplace violence, and procedures to follow if an incident occurs. Training should be provided upon hire, annually, and whenever there are changes in the workplace or specific threats arise.

3. Incident Reporting and Investigation

The law requires a clear procedure for employees to report workplace violence incidents. Employers are required to investigate each reported incident, document the findings, and take appropriate corrective actions to prevent recurrence.

4. Record Keeping 

Employers must maintain records of workplace violence incidents, including details of the investigation and the corrective actions taken. These records should be kept for at least five years and be available for review by the Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/​OSHA).

5. Employee Participation 

Employees and their representatives must be involved in the development and implementation of the WVPP. This includes participation in hazard identification, training programs, and the development of corrective measures.

The state has a helpful FAQ on point for these compliance measures

The Takeaway

If your agency is covered by this law, be sure to get your WVPP in place by July 1, 2024. If this law doesn’t apply to your agency right now, be sure to keep it in mind if you bring workers back into the office or hire more employees and meet the threshold of ten employees. 

You can always reach out to the Matchstick team if you have any questions around putting a WVPP in place for your agency or the additional compliance measures.