Complying with California's SB 553: A Quick Guide for Employers


Ry Hallada

5 min read

On average, 1.3 million nonfatal violent crimes in the workplace occur annually (Harrell et al., 2022). That shocking number further highlights the need for solutions to prevent workplace violence. Senate Bill 553 introduces workplace safety measures aimed at preventing violence in the workplace. That’s big news considering that when a state like California enacts legislation, it often sets a precedent for the rest of the country. 

Effective July 1, 2024, this law requires most California employers to implement comprehensive workplace violence prevention plans and complete workforce training to ensure compliance. Here's what you need to know to get compliant and create a safer work environment for your employees.

Who is Affected by SB 553?

SB 553 applies to all California employers except healthcare facilities governed by different standards and businesses with fewer than 10 employees. This means that any company with a location in California and 10 or more employees must comply, regardless of where their headquarters are situated in the state. This broad reach underscores the importance of understanding and implementing the necessary measures to comply with this new law.

What are the Main Requirements of SB 553?

As the compliance deadline approaches, employers must focus on the three main requirements under SB 553:

  1. Workplace Violence Prevention Plan
  2. Violent Incident Log
  3. Employee Training

Let's take a closer look at each of these components.

1. Establish, Implement, and Maintain a Workplace Violence Prevention Plan

Employers must develop a tailored workplace violence prevention plan as part of their existing Injury and Illness Prevention Plans. This plan should include:

  • Identification of persons responsible for the plan.
  • Procedures for involving employees in developing and implementing the plan.
  • Coordination methods with other employers to ensure comprehensive coverage.
  • Clear reporting procedures for workplace violence incidents and anti-retaliation measures.
  • Strategies for responding to emergencies and managing incidents effectively.

The plan should be easily accessible to employees, authorized representatives, and regulatory bodies at all times. Cal/OSHA has released a 19-page template, the Model Workplace Violence Prevention Plan (WVPP), to help employers create their own plans. This template shows how complex and time-consuming this task can be.

2. Maintain a Violent Incident Log

A meticulous record of all workplace violence incidents must be maintained. This log is essential for tracking trends, identifying improvement areas, and ensuring compliance. Each entry should include:

  • Date, time, and location of the incident.
  • Description of the incident.
  • Type of violence encountered.

Maintaining a detailed log helps in recognizing patterns and implementing preventive measures to avoid recurrence.

3. Provide Effective Employee Training

Training is critical to the success of the violence prevention plan. Employers must provide initial and ongoing training covering:

  • Recognizing and reporting incidents.
  • De-escalation strategies.
  • Procedures following an incident.

Training should be updated whenever new hazards are identified or significant changes to the plan occur. Ensuring that all employees are well-informed about their roles in maintaining a safe workplace is fundamental.

Are There Other SB 553 Requirements?

Beyond the primary requirements, employers must ensure that their violence prevention plan integrates with the broader injury and illness prevention program. They should also:

  • Make records such as the violent incident log and training documentation available to employees and their representatives upon request.
  • Follow specific procedures for issuing, renewing, and enforcing restraining orders related to workplace violence.

What is the Penalty for Failing SB 553 Compliance?

Non-compliance with SB 553 can result in significant penalties. Since January 15, 2024, The Division of Occupational Safety and Health has established penalties ranging from a minimum of $16,131 per violation for serious violations to a maximum of $161,323 per violation for willful or repeated offenses. For detailed information, refer to the complete table on the Cal/OSHA page.

Comply with the California SB 553

Stay ahead of the July 2024 deadline by starting your compliance journey today. With the right approach and tools, you can turn compliance into an opportunity to enhance workplace safety and employee well-being.
faceup whistleblowing

Book a consultation with FaceUp today and take proactive steps towards implementing a robust workplace violence prevention plan. With our tailored solutions and expert guidance, you can navigate the complexities of workplace safety with confidence. Contact us now to schedule your consultation and empower your workforce with the tools they need to thrive in a secure environment.

FaceUp Makes SB 553 Compliance Easy

Employers can simplify compliance by using FaceUp’s specialized software to manage the complexities of SB 553. Our platform offers solutions that help organizations stay compliant by providing a secure, anonymous way for employees to report incidents of workplace violence. FaceUp is a fully-featured platform that includes specific tools to meet SB 553 requirements: 

Tailored Plan Development: FaceUp facilitates the establishment, implementation, and maintenance of a personalized workplace violence prevention plan, ensuring it aligns with existing Injury and Illness Prevention Plans. Our platform allows for the identification of responsible personnel and seamless coordination with other stakeholders, streamlining the planning process.

Clear Reporting Procedures: With FaceUp, reporting workplace violence incidents is simplified through clear procedures embedded within the platform. Employees can easily report incidents while measures to prevent retaliation are in place, fostering a culture of transparency and safety.

Violent Incident Logging: Our software provides a centralized repository for maintaining meticulous records of all workplace violence incidents. Detailed entries, including date, time, location, and incident description, are logged, facilitating trend analysis and identification of improvement areas.

Employee Training Resources: FaceUp offers resources for training, as well as space for your company to share specific materials covering incident recognition, de-escalation strategies, and post-incident procedures. Combined, these ensure that all employees will be well-equipped to handle workplace violence situations effectively.

References & Resources


Ry Hallada

5 min read
Share post:

New e-book about whistleblowingDownload our free e-book

Whistleblowing - just a bureaucracy or an opportunity for your company?

E-book whistleblowing in organisations - en

Secure and easy to use whistleblowing system

Try FaceUp - A customisable whistleblowing system that's trusted by 3,000 companies and schools worldwide.