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    Align | June 25, 2023

    How to Navigate CalOSHA's Workplace Violence Prevention Code Successfully

According to OSHA and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 14.2% of fatal workplace injuries were caused intentionally by another person in 2019. That’s not just a statistic – that’s a wake-up call.  To tackle this head-on,  California codified Senate Bill 533 in the California Labor Code section 6401.9. That means starting July 1, 2024, all California employers are required to:

  • Have a Workplace Violence Prevention Plan in place
  • Train workers on the prevention plan
  • Record any incidents of workplace violence

When we asked people how prepared they were for the upcoming code, nobody was 100% prepared.

chart of CalOsha workplace violence preparedness

That’s why, in a recent webinar, we interviewed Certified Safety Professional Steve Polich and legal advisor John Surma to help you prepare for the code. In this article, we'll break down their advice to help you stay compliant and avoid any dreaded OSHA fees.

Watch the webinar here

Table of Contents



What is considered workplace violence?

OSHA’s definition of workplace violence goes beyond physical altercations. OSHA includes verbal threats, harassment, intimidation, homicide, and any disruptive workplace behavior. 

4 types of workplace violence

Who California Labor Code 6401.9 applies to

This law applies to almost every employer in California, their employees, their place of employment, and employer-provided housing. If you have a workforce that you also house, you will have certain obligations related to that housing. However, there are some exemptions, including:

  1. Certain healthcare facilities that fall under Section 3342 of Title 8.
  2. Facilities operated by the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
  3. Compliant law enforcement agencies (as defined by the statute).
  4. Employees teleworking from a location of their own choosing. Employers are not responsible for such locations.
  5. Small workplaces with fewer than ten employees where those employees are not accessible to the public.

These exemptions outline specific circumstances where the law does not apply.

How to develop a workplace violence prevention plan

There are many things you can do to create a well-rounded plan. We'll walk you through everything you need to know to get a plan into place.

  TIP: Make sure your plan is written down. If it isn’t documented, then there is no proof of compliance


What to include in your Workplace Violence Prevention Plan

Not every plan will nor should look the same. Each plan should be tailored to your area of work. For example, in a construction company, the plan can vary based on the construction stage and location without needing to be project-specific.

Your plan should align with elements of your IIPP (Injury Illness Prevention Program). If you're on a multi-employer site or in a location with multiple employers, your plan must address interaction among employers and how the controlling employer affects others.

what your workplace violence prevention plan must cover

Leverage your community

Getting a plan created can be overwhelming. That's why we suggest that you leverage the people around you in a multidisciplinary approach. Involving multiple stakeholders will help you get specific and look at your plan from multiple angles. These are the people we suggest you talk to:

  • Employees: Your team knows what issues are happening in the workplace better than anyone else. 
  • Insurance representatives: Consult with your insurance carrier or broker to see if they have loss control representatives with relevant experience
  • Trade associations: Use services from organizations like ABC, AGC, and the National Safety Council
  • Local law enforcement: They can provide insight into threat assessment and emergency response planning

Tools and Resources

One valuable tool is the risk matrix, which helps evaluate potential risks based on their severity, frequency, and their impact on your operations. The risk matrix allows you to categorize risks into different levels of priority, making it easier to focus on the most critical areas first.

By assessing the probability of each risk occurring and the potential consequences, you can develop targeted strategies to mitigate these risks. 

  Disaster High Risk Medium Risk Low Risk
Regular Probability Critical Critical High Medium
Probable Critical High Medium Medium
Occasional Critical High Medium Low
Rarely High Medium Medium Low

We also suggest that you leverage a few of these resources when building out your plan.

Best practices for training and implementation

Employers are required to provide comprehensive training on their Workplace Violence Prevention plan, when it is implemented and annually thereafter. The training must also be conducted whenever a new hazard or workplace is introduced.

what your workplace violence training must cover

CalOSHA mandates that employees be trained before they are placed in environments where they could be exposed to risks. This means that training must occur before they start working in such settings, not after. The annual training requirement remains essential to keep everyone up-to-date.

A brief five or ten-minute toolbox talk is insufficient to meet these requirements. It is important to allocate at least an hour for this training session to thoroughly cover the:

  • Policy
  • Reporting procedures
  • Methods to deescalate violent situations
  • And other mitigating factors

 This ensures employees fully understand the policy and are well-prepared to handle potential scenarios.

Recording and reporting violent incidents

Many violent incidents tend to go unreported. So, from now on, employers must provide a way for employees to report violent incidents safely without fear,  Anononous reporting solutions ensure people are not subject to retaliation. Plus they allow you to build a log of any violent incidents and have it ready to hand over to OSHA when asked.

What should you include in your violence incidents log?

As you record violent incidents, it’s important to have a log set up and ready to go. Luckily, a violence incidents log isn’t too different from any other log. 

Learn About Align's Incident Reporting Module

violence incidents log must cover this

Keep your workplace safe from workplace violence

As the new Senate Bill 533 requirements approach, it's time to gear up for a safer workplace. By putting together a solid Workplace Violence Prevention Plan, training your team, and keeping detailed incident logs, you'll not only meet the new regulations but also foster a safer work environment. 

To dive deeper into CalOSHA's Workplace Violence Prevention code, check out the full webinar. Or chat with our safety team to see how you can leverage technology to report incidents quickly and easily. 


Written by: Align Technologies
About Align Technologies

At Align Technologies, we make construction safe, productive, and profitable. As the construction industry's first and most comprehensive operations management platform, Align Technologies’ suite of powerful tools delivers operational visibility and control that drives results. Formed in 2024, Align Technologies is powered by three innovative market leaders: ToolWatch construction management software, Safety Reports mobile safety and compliance, and busybusy time tracking.

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