SB 553 Occupational safety: workplace violence: restraining orders and workplace violence prevention plan (SB 553) was signed into law on September 30. As indicated by its title, this piece of legislation addresses two workplace violence prevention components for employers; restraining orders and workplace violence prevention; this blog will focus on the latter.
Agencies have been responsible for identifying hazards and keeping employees safe for some time. In addition, this law outlines in very specific language how an agency must go about doing so with respect to workplace violence. The three main components of the legislation are a workplace violence prevention plan, an incident log, and training. Each is described below.
- An agency must have an effective written workplace violence prevention PLAN. The plan can be included as part of the injury and illness prevention plan (IIPP) or as a separate document. The plan must include the following:
- Names or job titles of the persons responsible with clearly defined roles.
- Procedures to involve employees and unions in plan development and implementation.
- Methods the employer will use to ensure effectiveness.
- Procedures to accept and respond to reports, including prohibiting retaliation against reporting employees.
- How an agency will communicate with employees regarding; how to report, how reports will be investigated, and how results and corrective actions will be shared.
- Procedures to respond to actual or potential workplace violence emergencies.
- Procedures to develop and provide required training.
- Procedures to identify, evaluate, and correct workplace violence hazards.
- Procedures for post-incident response and investigation.
- Procedures to review the effectiveness of the plan and revise (at least annually).
- An agency must keep a violent incident LOG. Employers are required to track every incident of violence as defined in the regulation, which includes specific data points that must be captured in the log. Violent incident logs shall be maintained by the employer for a minimum of 5 years.
- An agency must TRAIN employees when the plan is first established, when there are changes to the plan, new hazards, and annually. The training must include:
- How to obtain a copy of the plan and how to participate in its development and implementation.
- The definitions and requirements of the regulation.
- How to report workplace violence incidents or concerns to the employer or law enforcement without fear of reprisal.
- Workplace violence hazards specific to the employees’ jobs, the corrective measures the employer has implemented, how to seek assistance to prevent or respond to violence, and strategies to avoid physical harm.
- The violent incident log and how to obtain copies of required records.
- An opportunity for interactive questions and answers with a person knowledgeable about the employer’s plan.
It should be noted that certain government employers/employees are exempt from the SB 553 requirements including; healthcare facilities subject to Section 3342, POST participating law enforcement agencies, employees working remotely, and places of employment with less than 10 employees and no public access.
The above requirements must be agency specific, members are advised to be cautious of general solutions that are not tailored to an agency’s specific practices and procedures.
At a recent Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board (OSHSB) meeting, the division was asked to develop sample forms and a model workplace violence prevention plan to help employers. We will be monitoring both the OSHSB ‘Workplace Violence Prevention in General Industry’ developments and watching for resources from the DIR.
PRISM Members are encouraged to prepare for the July 1, 2024 compliance date. The following steps are recommended:
- Update the agency workplace violence prevention PLAN to meet the requirements of SB 553.
- Develop a violent incident LOG. PRISM has developed an excel spreadsheet Workplace Violent Incident Log for this purpose.
- TRAIN agency employees
PRISM Risk Control is available, please reach out with your questions. Meanwhile, watch for an upcoming forum announcement inviting you to join us to discuss strategies agencies are taking to prepare.
By Sarah Bruno in Legislation, Risk Control