California’s Workplace Violence Prevention Law

Are you ready to navigate California’s new workplace violence prevention law and ensure your workplace is safe and compliant?

Managing a business in California is already a complex task, and introducing a new law might seem like just another demand on an employer’s extensive to-do list. It’s understandable—navigating the growing network of regulations can be daunting. Yet, California’s recent workplace violence prevention statute is more than a mere regulatory hurdle; it represents a vital measure for safeguarding the safety and welfare of everyone in the workplace, including employees, customers, and visitors. While it may appear yet another concern, grasping and enacting this law’s requirements is critical to fostering a safer, more secure work environment for everyone involved.

Understanding California’s New Workplace Violence Prevention Law: A Closer Look

On September 30, 2023, California enacted the California Workplace Violence Prevention Law (WVPL), which will take effect on July 1, 2024. The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) enforces the law and applies to most employers in the state. It’s important to note that this law differs from the Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP) required by the California Occupational Safety and Health Act for most employers in the state. Here are the critical workplace violence prevention requirements under the WVPL:

  • Establish, implement, and maintain a workplace violence prevention plan (WVPP);
  • Train employees regarding the WVPP at the time it is first established and each year after that;
  • Maintain a violent incident log for every occurrence of workplace violence and
  • Maintain records of workplace violence and employee training.

Promoting Safety and Security: The Purpose of California’s Workplace Violence Prevention Law

California’s Workplace Violence Prevention Law (WVPL) promotes safety, security, and well-being. The main goal of this law is to provide employers with clear guidelines and requirements for implementing proactive measures to prevent workplace violence incidents before they occur. The WVPL aims to empower employers to identify potential risks, mitigate threats, and effectively respond to workplace violence incidents by establishing comprehensive policies, procedures, and training programs. Additionally, the law emphasizes the importance of fostering a culture of respect, communication, and support to create an environment where employees feel safe and valued. Ultimately, the WVPL aims to reduce workplace violence, protect the rights and dignity of employees, and ensure that all individuals can work and thrive in a secure and conducive environment.

Workplace Violence, Defined

Workplace violence covers any act or threat of physical violence, harassment, intimidation, or other disruptive behavior that happens at work or affects the work environment. This can include verbal abuse, physical assault, harassment, bullying, stalking, threats, or any behavior that creates a hostile or unsafe workplace. Workplace violence can come from coworkers, supervisors, clients, customers, or visitors to the workplace. It can happen on-site or off-site, during work hours, or outside of regular business hours if work-related. The critical factor is that the behavior directly or indirectly affects the workplace and its people. “Workplace violence” includes, but is not limited to:

  • The threat or use of physical force against an employee that results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, psychological trauma, or stress, regardless of whether the employee sustains an injury;
  • An incident involving a threat or use of a firearm or other dangerous weapon, including the use of common objects as weapons, regardless of whether the employee sustains an injury and
  • Any of the four types of workplace violence defined in California Labor Code Section 6401.9:
    • Type 1—Committed by a person who has no legitimate business at the worksite and includes violent acts by 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—Committed against an employee by a current or former employee, supervisor or manager; or
    • Type 4—Committed in the workplace by someone who does not work there but has or is known to have had a personal relationship with an employee.

Steps to Comply with WVPL

Navigating the complexities of the new Workplace Violence Prevention Legislation (WVPL) can be daunting. However, ensuring compliance is essential for creating a safe and secure work environment. This section outlines a straightforward, step-by-step approach to help you understand and adhere to the requirements of WVPL. By following these steps, you will not only comply with the law but also foster a workplace culture that prioritizes the well-being and safety of all employees. Let’s dive into the practical measures you need to take to align your organization with the WVPL standards.

  1. Confirm Coverage Under the WVPL
    • The WVPL generally applies to all employers, employees, places of employment, and employer-provided housing in California. However, most healthcare facilities, prisons, and law enforcement agencies are exempt from the new requirements. Exemptions are also available for:
      • Employees working remotely at a location that is not under the employer’s control and
      • Workplaces that are not accessible to the public and fewer than 10 employees are working at any time.
      • Cal/OSHA may order an exempt employer to comply with any portion of the law.
  2. Create a Workplace Violence Prevention Plan (we can help create the plan. Complete the form below to get started).
    • Identify Individuals Responsible for Developing and Implementing the Plan
    • Encourage Employee Involvement
    • Understand Plan Format and Content Requirements
  3. Establish Training Procedures
  4. Prepare to Implement Workplace Violence Incident Logs
  5. Establish Compliant Review and Recordkeeping Practices
  6. Monitor for Updates

Next Steps

My blog serves as a summary of California’s newest law, but we do have additional information available. Please get in touch with me directly by emailing, and I will send you our complete synopsis of the law.

As mentioned, we can help you implement a written workplace violence prevention plan. To get started, please complete the form below.

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