In 2023, the California Legislature enacted a first-of-its-kind workplace violence prevention law that, unlike other workplace violence laws that apply to specific industries only (such as healthcare), applies across all industries and to nearly all employers with operations in California. Under the new law, covered employers must have workplace violence prevention plans (WVPPs), training, and more in place by July 1, 2024. In anticipation of this deadline, the California Department of Industrial Relations, Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) recently published a fillable model WVPP template and two fact sheets intended to help employers and employees identify and meet their obligations under the new Labor Code section 6401.9.

Model Workplace Violence Prevention Plan

Cal/OSHA's model written WVPP is a fillable template designed to help employers develop a separate, stand-alone WVPP. Employers are not required to use the template and may create their own, use another WVPP template, or incorporate workplace violence prevention into their existing Injury and Illness Prevention Program as a separate section. Although Cal/OSHA's template is a helpful resource and if fully completed by an employer should satisfy a Cal/OSHA inspector's inquiries during an inspection, it goes beyond the new WVPP requirements in some respects. For example, the template includes reporting obligations associated with serious injuries or deaths that are work-related or that occur at the workplace, which requirements are not included in the new workplace violence prevention law. Employers should consider the tradeoffs in using the template in its entirety and may in some cases find greater value in using the model plan as a starting point in complying with the new law's obligations.

Fact Sheets for Employers and Employees

Cal/OSHA has also published two safety and health fact sheets which summarize the new workplace violence prevention laws and provide overviews of employer's obligations and employee's rights under these laws. The employer fact sheet can be found here, and the employee fact sheet can be found here.

Workplace Violence Prevention Law Requirements with July 1, 2024, Deadline

As previously reported by DWT, nearly all California employers face a July 1, 2024, deadline to develop and implement a WVPP, a violent incident log, and employee training on workplace violence. Cal/OSHA will have the ability to enforce these requirements through inspections, penalties and abatement requirements.

Employers/Employees Impacted: The new law is not industry-specific and applies to "all employers, employees, places of employment, and employer-provided housing," with a few specific exemptions that include:

1) health care facilities and employers covered by California's existing workplace prevention standard for the healthcare industry;

2) facilities operated by the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation;

3) certain law enforcement agencies;

4) teleworkers; and

5) places of employment that are not accessible to the public and have fewer than 10 employees working at a location at a given time.

Plan Requirements: Employers' written WVPPs must be tailored to each workplace. The WVPPs must address the specific hazards of every work area and operation and identify appropriate corrective actions to address those hazards. Employers will be required at a minimum to annually review their WVPP, as well as any time a deficiency is observed and following any workplace violence incident.

Each WVPP must include the following:

  • The names or job titles of the people responsible for the plan.
  • Procedures to obtain the active involvement of employees and their representatives in developing and implementing the plan, including hazard identification, training, and incident reporting.
  • Methods the employer will use to coordinate implementation of the plan with other employers, as applicable (for example, at multi-employer worksites).
  • Procedures for the employer to respond to reports of workplace violence and to prohibit retaliation for such reporting.
  • Procedures to ensure that supervisory and nonsupervisory employees comply with the plan.
  • Procedures to communicate with employees regarding workplace violence matters, including how an employee can report an incident, how the concerns will be investigated, how the employee will be informed of the results, and any corrective actions.
  • Procedures to respond to actual workplace emergencies, including means to alert employees of workplace emergencies, evacuation or sheltering plans, and how to obtain help from staff assigned to respond to emergencies (if any) or law enforcement.
  • Training procedures.
  • Procedures to identify and evaluate and correct workplace violence hazards, including scheduled inspections.
  • Procedures for post-incident response and investigation.
  • Procedures for reviewing the effectiveness of the plan and revising the plan as needed.

Penalties: Cal/OSHA will enforce the new law through its standard inspection, citation, and penalty framework. Depending on the nature of an alleged violation, potential penalties may climb as high as $25,000 (for violations classified as "serious") or $153,744 (for violations classified as "willful"). Cal/OSHA will also require employers deemed out of compliance to abate alleged violations to Cal/OSHA's satisfaction, potentially including changes to employers' policies and procedures.

Violent Incident Logs

Starting on July 1, 2024, employers will be required to maintain a violent incident log for every occurrence of workplace violence, including:

  • when the incident occurred;
  • a detailed description of the event;
  • the classification of who committed the violence, such as customer, stranger, co‑worker, or partner or spouse;
  • the circumstances at the time of the incident;
  • where the incident occurred;
  • the consequences of the incident, such as whether law enforcement was contacted and the employer's actions to protect against a continuing threat; and
  • information about the person who completed the log entry.

In addition, logs shall identify the specific kind of incident from four statutorily-prescribed categories: 1) violence against an employee committed by someone who has no legitimate business at the worksite; 2) violence against an employee committed by a customer, patient, or visitor; 3) violence against an employee by a current or former employee; and 4) violence committed by a non-employee who has a personal relationship with an employee. Acts of self-defense or defense of others are excluded from the definition of "workplace violence."

Employers should note that recording an incident in a violent incident log does not appear to excuse an employer from also recording the same incident on the employer's OSHA 300 logs if the incident results in an injury or illness meeting the 300 log recordability requirements. If a workplace violence incident results in a recordable injury, employers will need to record the incident on both the violent incident log and the 300 log.

Employee Training

Employers must provide employees with workplace violence training when the WVPP is initially established and annually thereafter. The training will cover a wide breadth of information, including:

  • the employer's plan, including how to obtain a copy;
  • how to participate in the development and implementation of the plan;
  • Senate Bill 553's definitions and requirements;
  • how to report incidents and concerns;
  • workplace violence hazards specific to the employee's job and corrective measures the employer has implemented;
  • the requirements for the violent incident log and how to obtain copies as permitted by the statute; and
  • an opportunity for interactive discussion.

Employers will also be required to provide supplemental training when a new or previously unrecognized workplace violence hazard has been identified and any time changes are made to the WVPP.


Employers will be required to maintain the following records for five years:

1) records of workplace violence hazard identification, evaluation, and correction;

2) workplace violence incident investigations; and 3) violent incident logs.

Training records must be maintained for one year.

All WVPP records required under the statute must be made available to Cal/OSHA upon request. Employees and their representatives are entitled to records reflecting hazard identification, evaluation, and correction, as well as violent incident logs, within 15 days of request.

Employer Takeaways

The July 1, 2024, deadline will come quickly, and employers with operations in California are encouraged to start preparing their WVPPs, violent incident logs, and employee training procedures now, if they have not already done so. The model WVPP template recently published by Cal/OSHA may be a helpful tool in ensuring proper compliance with Labor Code section 6401.9 and preventing citations or penalties, but employers should evaluate the template against the law's requirements and the employer's operations in determining whether and to what extent to use the document.

If you have any questions about your company's compliance with the new requirements regarding WVPPs, violent incident logs, and employee training, please contact DWT's OSHA team and employment services group, who are available to advise and assist. In the meantime, DWT will continue to monitor and provide updates as they occur.