Workplace violence is the second leading cause of fatal occupational injuries in the US, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

In order to address workplace violence, California has been making advances to implement laws that protect the health and safety of employees for all non-healthcare industries, which possesses their own protective legislations.

The push for regulating workplace violence in non-healthcare industries in California started in 2017, when over 300,000 teachers signed a petition requesting workplace safety standards to mitigate violence faced in educational environments. Since then, a written Workplace Violence Prevention Plan (WVPP), the first legislation of its kind in the US, will be effective from July 1st, 2024, for nearly all California employers. The legislation is designed to ensure safe and healthy working conditions for all employees, with a few industry exemptions.

Keep reading as we provide a curated a guide for relevant employers, to ensure your organization and relevant stakeholders are ready to comply with the new legislation by the July 1st.

Who is exempt?

Here is a non-exhaustive list of some of the organizations that are exempt from meeting the requirements of the WVPP legislation:

  • Healthcare facilities, hospitals, and outpatient clinics, emergency medical and transport services, drug treatment programs.
  • Facilities operated by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
  • Law enforcement agencies in compliance with the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training Programs.
  • Employees working remotely at an employer’s desired destination.
  • Workplaces that are inaccessible to the public, have fewer than 10 employees working on-site, and comply with IIPP requirements.

What are the key WVPP requirements?

The new legislation requires all employees have the opportunity to be involved in the organization and implementation of the company’s WVPP, with the exception of remote workers. Employees and authorized employee representatives must therefore be granted the training and opportunities to participate in the development and implementation of the WVPP. It is advised that remote employees are included in the ability to develop the WVPP as well as receiving training to ensure that all employees can proactively identify violence, hazards, and incidents.

Consequences for non-compliance with this law may include citations, fines, and potential legal action, as well as negatively impacting the reputation and morale of an offending organization.

Risk assessment:

The WVPP obliges all employers to conduct thorough risk assessments to identify potential hazards of workplace violence. This may include assessing the nature of the work, the level of individual employee capability, locations, and any previous incidents.

Written Workplace Violence Prevention Plan:

Employers are required to develop and implement a written workplace violence prevention plan. The plan should include procedures for identifying and evaluation potential risks, methods for correcting hazards, and communication strategies.

Violent Incident Log:

To encourage transparency and accountability within organizations, employers are required to keep a log of all incidences considered to be violent as part of the WVPP. Events must be recorded regardless of injury and must include information based on employee and witness statements and investigation findings. This includes identification, investigation, evaluation and correction, and incident logs.

These records must be maintained for five years and remain accessible for all employees, stakeholders, and authorized employee representatives, and Cal/OSHA representatives.

Training provision and ongoing education:

Employers must provide effective training and ensure that materials are accessible to match employees’ level of education, skills, and language. Training must be delivered annually after the initial training, and must cover the following:

  • Making sure that employees are familiar with the WVPP, where to access it, and how to utilise it.
  • Understanding the Senate Bill 553 (SB 553), which establishes the requirements of the Workplace Violence Prevention Plan.
  • How to effectively report incidents.
  • Understanding the risks and hazards of job-specific violence and the measures in place to prevent them.
  • Recognizing and responding to potentially violent situations with an emphasis on prevention. This includes de-escalation techniques, reporting procedures, and the importance of maintaining a supportive work environment.
  • How to access violent incident records.

It is important to know that all training records must be retained for one year.

Incident reporting and investigation:

The legislation instructs that employers establish clear procedures for reporting and investigating incidents of workplace violence. This must be included in employee training, as with importance placed upon positive encouragement to report any events without fear of retaliation.


In a bid for better transparency and accountability within organizations, employers must maintain a clear record of workplace violence incidents, investigations, and corrective actions taken. They are required to be accessible to all employees and are essential for assessing the effectiveness of the WVPP preventative measures that have been implemented, as well as providing essential information for making necessary adjustments.

Emergency response:

Employers must develop and communicate emergency response procedures to address incidents of violence promptly. This may include coordinating with law enforcement and other emergency services. It is imperative that these procedures be included in employee training and details made accessible in the written WVPP.

What should your organization do to prepare for July 1st?

  • Identify who will implement and manage the WVPP and establish how they will operate.
  • Work with professionals to carry out a full risk assessment for potential workplace violence hazards.
  • Organize procedures for investigating and handling workplace violence.
  • Design training for supervisors and employees.
  • Draft a written WVPP.

California’s workplace violence legislation epitomizes the state’s dedication to fostering safer workplaces by emphasising a proactive approach. As organizations prepare for the fast-approaching July 1st deadline, the focus is not just on fulfilling legal obligation, but on cultivating a workplace that prioritizes the safety, security, and well-being of their employees.

Cardinus can help you to prepare for WVPP

There’s a lot for your business to prepare for, and Cardinus can provide specialised and bespoke audits, risk assessments, actionable plans, and employee training delivery specific to your industry and location. With our global network of highly qualified consultants, we can work with you to develop all new procedures compliant with Californian regulations and policies, helping you to transform your company with peace of mind. Get in touch to find out more.

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