Workplace violence is a serious concern for California employers in all industries, but the state’s workplace violence prevention regulations are currently applicable only to the healthcare industry. A bill recently introduced in the California Legislature would require the state’s occupational safety and health regulator to broaden the scope of workplace violence prevention regulations.
On February 15, 2023, California State Senator Dave Cortese (D-15) introduced Senate Bill (SB) No. 553, which, if enacted, would require the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) to adopt regulations requiring any employer not subject to the healthcare regulations to adopt a workplace violence prevention plan as part of the employer’s injury and illness prevention plan. The regulations would need to be consistent with the state’s healthcare industry workplace violence prevention standards. The healthcare standard requires a violent incident log, recordkeeping, reporting of violent incidents to Cal/OSHA, a written violence prevention plan, and training. The bill’s proposed regulations would cover most employers in California. The current version of the bill does not specify a time period for Cal/OSHA to adopt the regulations.
Cal/OSHA is already working on proposed general industry workplace violence prevention standards. In May 2022, the agency issued a revised discussion draft of a proposed workplace violence prevention regulation applicable to all industries that would require employers to implement measures to prevent and respond to workplace violence. The proposed regulation has not yet been adopted.
Ogletree Deakins will continue to monitor developments with respect to SB 553 and Cal/OSHA’s proposed workplace violence prevention regulations and will post updates on the firm’s California and Workplace Safety and Health blogs as additional information becomes available. Important information for employers is also available via the firm’s webinar and podcast programs.