In the United States, from 2015 to 2019, an average of 1.3 million nonfatal violent crimes occurred in the workplace and in 2021, 57 Californian employees died from acts of violence in the workplace. To help address this alarming trend, new legislation on workplace violence prevention was enacted on September 30, 2023, revising section 6401.9 of the California Code of Regulations. Collectively, they require every employer in general industry (non-healthcare) to establish, implement, and maintain an effective workplace violence prevention plan (WVPP) and a violent-incident log beginning July 1, 2024. See Cal/OSHA’s Model Written Workplace Violence Prevention Plan for General Industry, which includes a violent incident log and is for use by employers as a resource guide and plan template.

What is workplace violence?

Labor Code section 6401.9 defines ‘workplace violence’ as any act of violence or threat of violence that occurs in a place of employment. This includes the threat or use of physical force against an employee. "Workplace violence" does not include lawful acts of self-defense or defense of others.

What’s in the new Workplace Violence Prevention Plan?

Labor Code section 6401.9 outlines the requirements of a workplace violence prevention plan, which requires employee involvement in development and implementation of the plan, and includes:

  • Procedures to communicate with employees regarding workplace violence matters
  • Emergency response protocols
  • Training provisions
  • Procedures to promptly correct workplace violence hazards
  • Procedures for post-incident response and investigation

The plan must be in effect at all times, in all work areas, and be specific to the hazards and corrective measures for each work area and operation and must address all steps outlined in the labor code. The written plan may either be incorporated as a stand-alone section in the written Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP), required by section 3203 of title 8 of the California Code of Regulations, or kept as a separate document.

To help you implement all the requirements by July 1, take a look at Cal/OSHA’s Workplace Violence Prevention Program, Fact Sheet for Employers, Fact Sheet for Workers, and Frequently Asked Questions. And for more information on Workplace Violence Prevention visit Cal/OSHA’s Workplace Violence Prevention Guidance and Resources.

This groundbreaking law will help workers and employers establish a plan for the types of workplace violence that are on the rise in hopes of making California workplaces safer.