In an ever-evolving business landscape, California has taken a significant step forward in workplace safety with the introduction of Senate Bill (SB) 553. This bill, signed into law by Governor Newsom, comes as a proactive measure to combat workplace violence and create safer environments for employees across the state. Notably, the implications of this bill extend beyond California, potentially setting a precedent for workplace safety regulations elsewhere in the future.
California SB 553
As noted on California Senator Dave Cortese’s website:
“Workplaces across California will begin making safety plans to prepare for potential outbreaks of serious violence following Governor Newsom’s announcement today that he has signed Senate Bill (SB) 553 into law, a measure by Senator Dave Cortese.
SB 553 requires employers to develop their own workplace violence prevention plans as part of their Cal/OSHA Injury and Illness Prevention Plans. Employees must be informed of these plans and prepare accordingly. Businesses must begin complying with the law on July 1, 2024.”
In part 2 (click here for part 1), we’ll be dissecting California’s SB 553 section by section, focusing specifically on compliance requirements for businesses and aiming to provide a clearer understanding of its contents.
It’s important to note that what we offer here is a general overview, serving as an introductory guide rather than a detailed, line-by-line analysis of the bill. For those looking to ensure compliance with SB 553, we strongly recommend consulting with an attorney for tailored advice and guidance. You can also Talk to us. This approach will help your program align with the specific legal requirements of the bill.
Section 1: Legal Protection Against Workplace Violence
- Key Point: Employers can obtain court orders, like restraining orders, to protect employees from workplace violence or threats.
- Coverage: Applies to all businesses and includes various forms of workplace intimidation (violence, threats, stalking).
- Applicability: Relevant for all employers, from small businesses to large corporations and public agencies.
- Process: Simplified legal process for obtaining temporary court orders in urgent situations.
Section 2 & 2.5: Expanding Legal Protections for Employees
- Key Point: Expands the scope for obtaining restraining orders through employers and collective bargaining representatives.
- Protection Scope: Includes harassment and credible threats of violence, with clear legal processes outlined.
- Safety Measures: Includes firearm restrictions for individuals under restraining orders.
Section 3: Enhancement of Injury Prevention Programs
- Key Point: Mandates comprehensive injury prevention programs for all employers.
- Program Requirements: Includes hazard evaluation, safety training, communication systems, and compliance mechanisms.
- Additional Elements: Emphasizes workplace violence prevention planning and necessary record-keeping.
Section 4: Establishing a workplace violence prevention plan.
- Detailed Definitions: The section provides specific definitions for key terms such as emergency, engineering controls, and types of workplace violence.
- Workplace Violence Prevention Plan: Employers are required to develop a written prevention plan tailored to their specific work areas and operations. This plan includes identifying responsible persons, methods for addressing violence hazards, and effective communication and training procedures.
- Active Involvement of Employees: The plan calls for employee participation in developing and implementing strategies for identifying, evaluating, and correcting workplace violence hazards.
- Emergency Procedures: Employers must establish procedures for responding to workplace violence emergencies, such as evacuation plans and methods for alerting employees about potential dangers.
- Record-Keeping and Training: The section emphasizes the importance of maintaining records of workplace violence incidents, training sessions, and hazard evaluations, ensuring ongoing compliance and effectiveness.
- Implementation Timeline: The provisions of this section will be effective from July 1, 2024, giving employers time to develop and implement these comprehensive plans.
Assisting You to SB 553 Compliance
In light of SB 553’s upcoming July deadline, TAL Global is here to assist businesses in adapting to these new requirements. We offer customized solutions to help organizations of all sizes develop effective prevention plans and training programs. For further guidance or assistance, feel free to reach out to us. Our goal is to ensure your business fosters a safe and secure workplace.