A Look into California’s New Workplace Violence Prevention Plan Law: SB553

Industry Trends

April 3, 2024

Business People Portrait

In today’s dynamic workplace environment, ensuring the safety and well-being of employees is paramount. On July 1, 2024, California’s new workplace violence prevention plan law, SB553, will take effect, signaling a significant shift in how businesses are required to address and prevent violence in the workplace. Senate Bill 553 (SB553) is a ground-breaking piece of legislation that mandates that all California employers with 5 or more employees must develop and maintain a comprehensive workplace violence prevention plan.

To comply with SB553, employers must address several key components, including risk assessments, training programs, incident response protocols and record-keeping requirements. Failure to adhere to these regulations can result in significant penalties, making it imperative for businesses to implement robust strategies to ensure compliance.

At Sodales, we understand the challenges that HR professionals face in navigating complex regulatory landscapes. That’s why we’ve integrated the latest advancements in our health, safety and employee relations platform to help organizations stay compliant with SB553 and enhance workplace safety.

Understanding SB553.

SB553 is a law that requires employers in California to establish, implement and maintain an effective workplace violence prevention plan. This law focuses on the prevention of workplace violence and is designed to protect employees from potential acts of violence, which can range from verbal threats to physical assaults. Under SB553, employers must:

Requirements by employees under SB 553SB553 requires California employers to take proactive measures to prevent workplace violence. This includes conducting thorough risk assessments to identify potential hazards, such as working alone, handling cash or interacting with the public. Employers must also provide comprehensive training to employees on recognizing and responding to potential threats, as well as establishing clear procedures for reporting incidents and seeking assistance.

Additionally, SB553 mandates that employers maintain records of workplace violence incidents, including detailed descriptions of the events and any corrective actions taken. This information must be retained for at least three years and made available to the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) upon request.

Who is impacted?

All employers in California are required to comply with SB553 by developing, implementing and maintaining a comprehensive workplace violence prevention plan. This includes businesses of all sizes and across all industries. However, there are few exceptions.

Employers already adhering to Cal/OSHA’s Violence Prevention in Health Care standard, typically healthcare facilities, are exempt. Additionally, the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation employers, law enforcement agencies and employers with ten or fewer employees working in a location not open to the public are exempt. Employees who carry out their work remotely from a location outside the employer’s control and employers whose employees are located outside of California are also exempt from the law, as it only applies to California employers and their California employees.

HR professionals will play a key role in ensuring compliance with SB553. They will be responsible for developing violence prevention plans, conducting risk assessments, providing employee training and managing incident reporting and investigation processes.

How Sodales is responding.

Sodales is committed to helping organizations streamline their compliance efforts with SB553. Our health, safety and employee relations modules are designed to simplify the process of developing, implementing and maintaining a workplace violence prevention plan, ensuring that organizations can meet the requirements of SB553 with ease. Here’s how we’re doing it:

Employee Relations Complaint Management Module

Sodales’ complaint management module already includes features specifically designed to manage workplace violence prevention. This module offers tools for documenting and tracking matters of workplace violence, managing follow-up actions and maintaining comprehensive records for compliance purposes.

Risk Assessments

To comply with the risk assessment requirements of SB553, Sodales offers tools that enable employers to conduct comprehensive evaluations of their workplace. These assessments can identify potential hazards, assess the likelihood of violence and determine the necessary preventative measures.

Preventative Measures

Sodales has integrated preventative safety measures tools into the platform that can be tailored to the specific needs of the organization. An organization’s training tools can cover topics such as identifying warning signs of violence, de-escalation techniques and emergency response procedures. No matter what it is, Sodales can easily configure forms and workflows to manage training assignments and more – all specific to your industry and region.

Incident Reporting

In the event of a workplace violence incident, prompt reporting and effective response are critical. Sodales has a streamlined incident reporting module that allow employees to report incidents quickly and securely. Additionally, the platform provides organizations with clear protocols for responding to incidents, helping to minimize the impact on employees and the business.

A key component of SB553 compliance is the ability to report and document incidents of workplace violence. Sodales incorporates user-friendly incident reporting tools that allow employees to report concerns anonymously or directly, ensuring that all incidents are captured and addressed promptly. Furthermore, with Sodales’ integrated incident management module, employers also have access to Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs), which offer additional support and resources to employees affected by workplace incidents. This integrated approach ensures that employees receive comprehensive care and support when they need it most.

Discipline Management

Effective discipline management is crucial for maintaining a safe and compliant workplace in light of this new law. Sodales’ discipline management module is designed to help employers adhere to these requirements by providing a structured platform for addressing and documenting disciplinary issues related to workplace violence.

This module integrates seamlessly with the incident reporting and risk assessment tools required by SB553, ensuring that all disciplinary actions are based on thorough investigations and factual evidence. This is particularly relevant under SB553, as the law requires employers to not only prevent incidents of violence but also to manage and resolve them effectively when they occur.

With Sodales, HR professionals can create and enforce discipline policies that are consistent and fair, thus maintaining legal compliance and promoting a safe working environment. The module also helps in documenting all steps taken during the disciplinary process, which is essential for compliance with SB553’s strict record-keeping requirements. This documentation can be vital during inspections or audits by regulatory bodies such as Cal/OSHA.

By using Sodales’ discipline management module, organizations can ensure they are not only compliant with SB553 but are also proactive in fostering a workplace culture that deters violence and promotes safety and respect among all employees.

Data Analytics

Advanced data analytics capabilities are integrated within Sodales’ software to help employers identify trends and patterns in workplace violence. By analyzing incident reports and risk assessment data, employers can make informed decisions about how to enhance their violence prevention strategies.

Record Keeping and Compliance

Compliance with SB553 requires meticulous record-keeping practices. All of Sodales’ modules feature robust record-keeping capabilities, allowing organizations to easily document workplace violence and incidents to maintain compliance with regulatory requirements. The software also generates reports and audits to track progress and identify areas for improvement.

Regulatory Updates

Sodales is committed to keeping our software platform up to date with the latest regulatory changes. As SB553 evolves and additional guidance is issued, our platform will be updated to ensure ongoing compliance.

Why is SB553 important?

SB553 holds employers accountable for maintaining a secure workplace and can lead to improved overall workplace safety standards. This is particularly important in industries where employees are at a higher risk of encountering violent situations, such as healthcare, retail and education.

Reporting workplace violence helps in identifying patterns or trends, informing strategies to prevent future occurrences and ensuring that employees who fall victim to workplace violence receive the necessary support, whether it’s medical, psychological or legal. Using Sodales’ complaint management module, employees can report instances of workplace violence confidentially and securely, facilitating prompt investigation and resolution. The module also helps in maintaining detailed records of complaints and the actions taken, which is essential for demonstrating compliance with SB553’s requirements. It can be integrated with risk assessment tools and training modules, providing a comprehensive solution for preventing and addressing workplace violence.

Using Sodales demonstrates to employees that their employer is committed to their safety, which can improve morale and trust in the organization. Sodales becomes an indispensable tool for fostering a culture of accountability and respect, and for ensuring that all employees feel safe and supported in their workplace.

The importance of agility and adaptability.

The introduction of SB553 underscores the importance of agility and adaptability in any HR software. As regulations change and new challenges emerge, Sodales can respond quickly to ensure customers remain compliant and protected. By offering scalable, configurable, and user-friendly solutions, Sodales plays a crucial role in helping employers navigate the complexities of workplace violence prevention.

Get started with a demo.

The implementation of California’s SB553 law marks a significant step forward in the effort to create safer workplaces. For Sodales, it presents an opportunity to demonstrate our capabilities with our innovative solutions that not only comply with new regulations but also enhance overall employee safety and well-being. By staying ahead of the curve and continuously evolving our software, we are ensuring that our customers are well-equipped to meet the challenges of workplace violence prevention in the modern era.

As the deadline for compliance with SB553 approaches, now is the time for organizations to act and implement effective workplace violence prevention strategies. With Sodales’ cutting-edge software solutions, organizations can meet the requirements of SB553 and create a safer, more secure workplace for all. To learn more, click here to book your free industry-specific demo.

Experience the only fully integrated approach to health, safety and employee relations