Senator Cortese Announces Update on SB 553: Workplace Violence Prevention
Senator Cortese announced new language on Monday that amends his legislation to protect people from incidents of workplace violence. Senate Bill (SB) 553 requires employers to develop their own workplace violence prevention plans as part of their Cal/OSHA Injury Illness Prevention Plan. Employees must be informed of these plans and prepare accordingly.
“It’s been an honor to work with business owners and workers in an effort to find the best way to plan ahead for incidents of violence in the workplace,” said Senator Cortese (D-San Jose). “These amendments reflect a collaborative stakeholder process that has resulted in procedures, assessments, and corrections to protect employees and businesses from threats or use of physical force that have a high likelihood of injury.”
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), workplace violence is the second leading cause of fatal occupational injuries in the United States, affecting nearly two million American workers annually.
These workplace violence prevention plans:
- Require all employers to maintain a Violent Incident Log of all violent incidents against employees as well as post-incident investigations.
- Require staff to know how to obtain help from the law enforcement or staff assigned to respond to workplace violence emergencies.
- Allow an employee representative to be a petitioner for a temporary workplace violence restraining order.
- As part of maintaining the currently-required Injury Illness Prevention Plan, identify those responsible for implementing the plan, including roles, trainings, and protocols for assessing and reacting to threats of workplace violence. Employers must annually review the plan.
- Require employers to explain to employees how to report violent incidents without fear of retaliation, and how their concerns will be addressed.
- Lay out procedures for responding to violence emergencies, including alerts about emergencies, feasible evacuation or sheltering plans, and obtaining assistance from staff, security, or law enforcement.
For the past six years, Cal/OSHA has worked on a workplace violence prevention plan for businesses known as the Workplace Violence General Industry Draft. SB 553 would accelerate the creation of this standard by placing it into effect on July 1, 2024. From there, Cal/OSHA will continue its rulemaking process with input from workers, employers, and the public, refining a standard that keeps workers safe.
Senator Dave Cortese represents Senate District 15, which encompasses San Jose and much of Santa Clara County in the heart of Silicon Valley. Visit Senator Cortese’s website: https://sd15.senate.ca.gov