With the enactment of Senate Bill (“SB”) 553, the legislature amended Labor Code section 6401.7 and added Labor Code section 6401.9, requiring employers to adopt and implement a Workplace Violence Prevention Plan (“WVPP”) and corresponding training for their employees by July 1, 2024.

As the effective date for these statutory requirements rapidly approaches, LCW has developed a number of resources to help employers develop a WVPP for their worksites and training for their employees in order to comply with these new obligations (See here for additional information about LCW offerings).

On March 1, 2024, the Division of Occupational Safety and Health (“DOSH”), which is responsible for enforcing these sections of the Labor Code, published a model WVPP and provided guidance on ways employers may comply with the requirements set forth in Labor Code section 6401.9. 

Since the enactment of the bill, employers have had questions regarding the WVPP and the training requirements. Below are some common questions and the responses to them:

  1. What employers need to comply with SB 553?

SB 553 is applicable to almost all California employers.

The limited exceptions include:

(1) Employers that comply with Section 3342 of Title 8 of the California Code of Regulations (“CCR”) (e.g., health facilities, home health care and home based hospice, emergency medical services and medical transport, drug treatment programs, outpatient medical services to the incarcerated);

(2) Employers that are law enforcement agencies that are a “department or participating department” (See 11 CCR § 1001) and that have received confirmation of compliance with the Commission on Peace Officer and Training (“POST”) Program from the POST Executive Director, but only if all facilities operated by the agency are in compliance;

(3) Employers that have only remote employees (i.e., there is no workplace); and

(4) Employers that have fewer than ten (10) employees working at a place at any given time and in a place that is not accessible to the public, if the workplace has a compliant Injury and Illness Prevention Plan (“IIPP”).

  1. What exactly needs to be completed by July 1, 2024?

By July 1, 2024, all employers must implement a WVPP and train all employees.

This means that all employees must be trained by July 1, 2024.

  1. If we already have an Injury and Illness Prevention Plan or Emergency Preparedness Plans in place, do we still need to comply?

Yes, even if an employer has a compliant IIPP, Emergency Preparedness Plan, or even an existing Workplace Violence Prevention Policy, the employer is still subject to the requirements of SB 553.

The new law implemented very specific requirements so it is unlikely that any existing plans or policies will address each and every statutory requirement set forth in Labor Code section 6401.9. Please also keep in mind that existing policies and procedures may need to be updated to correspond with your WVPP.

  1. Can a law firm like LCW do the trainings for me?


However, the trainings must be tailored to an employer’s specific WVPP. Thus, in order to provide trainings, LCW will need to work with you to align the training with your customized WVPP.

The training also must include an opportunity for employees to ask questions of a person knowledgeable about the employer’s plan, so LCW recommends that someone familiar with the employer’s workplace also be present during the training to answer specific questions about the plan and workplace.   

  1. Can the WVPP training be combined with other required annual trainings like sexual harassment?

The WVPP training requirements are separate and distinct from the annual training requirements related to the prevention of sexual harassment.

However, the separate trainings may be provided back-to-back in order to discharge the employer’s legal obligation for these trainings.

  1. How do I know if I have a multiemployer worksite? What does the coordination requirement entail in this context?

Multiemployer worksite is a term used to refer to a workplace where there is more than one employer that may be cited by DOSH in the event that an employee is exposed to a workplace hazard, such as a hazard related to workplace violence.  

Employers that may be cited for hazards related to workplace violence include:

(1) The employer of the employees who were exposed to the hazard;

(2) The employer that actually created the hazard;

(3) The employer that was responsible, by contract or through actual practice, for safety and health conditions on the worksite (i.e., the employer who had the authority for ensuring that the hazardous condition is corrected); and

(4) The employer who had the responsibility for correcting the hazard.

The most common type of a multiemployer worksite is a construction site where employees of various contractors may be working simultaneously.

However, multiemployer worksites may also exist where an employer hires another employer to provide or perform services at the workplace, such as janitorial services or maintenance or repair work.

If your organization uses services provided by another employer at your workplace, it is likely that DOSH would consider your workplace to be a multiemployer worksite.

In terms of the statutory obligations related to coordination with another employer on a multiemployer worksite, the Labor Code requires that all employees are trained on the WVPP and that all workplace violence incidents are reported, investigated, and recorded.

Thus, the WVPP must clearly establish to whom employees report incidents of workplace violence or hazards related to workplace violence and which employer is responsible for investigating the incident or hazard and for taking corrective action.

Additionally, the employer or employers of employees who experienced the workplace violence incident must record it in their Violent Incident Log.

  1. Do elected officials and volunteers need to be trained on the WVPP?

No, employers are only required to provide training to employees.

“Employee” is defined as “every person who is required or directed by any employer, to engage in any employment, or to go to work or be at any time in any place of employment.” (8 CCR § 347.)

However, despite the fact that elected officials and volunteers are not expressly covered by the Labor Code or subject to the WVPP, it would be prudent for employers to develop a workplace violence prevention plan for such individuals to ensure that proper action is taken in response to any threats of violence or incidents of workplace violence directed at such individuals.

  1. Does the Labor Code requirement that employees be informed of the results of investigations into workplace violence and corrective actions mean that employers need to disclose confidential employee information?

No, the Labor Code only requires employers to inform employees of the results of the investigation and any corrective actions that will be taken to address the hazard or incident of workplace violence.

There is no requirement under the Labor Code that an employer disclose confidential information about employees. Employers should also be careful when completing the required Violent Incident Log to omit any personally identifying information of affected employees.

Please see LCW’s previous post for additional information regarding SB 553. You may also access our resources regarding the WVPP and trainings here.