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Find key provisions of SB 553 explained. Understand what it is and how this bill may impact you and your business next year.
At Morris & Garritano, our mission has always been to advocate for the safety and compliance of our clients. We understand that running a business comes with its own set of challenges, and ensuring a safe work environment is paramount.
As of this month, SB 553 has been passed by the California State Assembly Appropriations Committee and the Senate. If passed into law, SB 553 would require nearly every employer in the state to adopt comprehensive workplace violence prevention plans starting on July 1, 2024.
SB553 focuses on occupational safety and preventing workplace violence.
Current laws allow employers to request a temporary restraining order and a follow-up order in court if one of their employees has been a victim of unlawful violence or faced a credible threat of violence from someone connected to the workplace in some way.
The passing of SB 553 into law would authorize a “collective bargaining representative” of an employee to seek a temporary restraining order and an order after hearing on behalf of the employee (and any other implicated employees at the workplace). The employee in question could decline to be named in the temporary restraining order, but that decision would not prohibit the employer or the representative from seeking a temporary restraining order on behalf of other employees at the workplace, and, if appropriate, other employees at other places the business owner operates.
This bill would require an employer to also “establish, implement, and maintain, at all times in all work areas, an effective workplace violence prevention plan containing specified information” marking a substantial change in workplace safety regulations in California.
Previous drafts of SB 553 closely resembled the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health’s (Cal/OSHA) workplace violence regulations, which were primarily applicable to healthcare settings. However, the latest amendments align SB 553 more closely with Cal/OSHA’s draft regulations on workplace violence prevention, known as the Workplace Violence Prevention in General Industry Draft.
What does SB 553 entail for employers in California? Let’s take a closer look at some of its key provisions:
Employers will be required to implement comprehensive, written workplace violence prevention plans specific to each work area and operation’s hazards.
Employers must record every workplace violence incident in a violent incident log, including details such as the incident’s date, time, location, type(s) of workplace violence involved, and more.
Employers are obligated to provide effective training to employees, tailored to their educational levels, literacy, and languages, on workplace violence prevention. This training will cover essential aspects such as reporting incidents, seeking assistance, and understanding the employer’s violence prevention plan.
Employers must regularly review the effectiveness of their workplace violence prevention plans and make revisions as necessary.
Employers should ensure that supervisory and non-supervisory employees comply with the workplace violence prevention plan.
Employers are required to maintain records, including training records for at least one year, violent incident logs for at least five years, and workplace violence incident investigation records for at least five years.
At Morris & Garritano, we are here to help you navigate legislation and changes in policy. If you have questions about SB 553 or need help in understanding how it applies to your specific workplace, contact our office.
We are committed to providing the guidance and support you need to ensure the safety and compliance of your business. As SB 553 progresses and further updates are announced, we will keep abreast of the situation.