Cal/OSHA is sending signals that it will begin treating workplace violence the same way it treats other safety hazards. Employers need to be listening carefully so they will be prepared to comply.
Specifically, Cal/OSHA recently published a revised draft regulation regarding workplace violence prevention. The regulation would apply to all industries and call for employers to enact measures such as:
Notably, an employer’s workplace violence prevention plan would have to be a written document that covers all elements of a compliant prevention program. Employers would also need to put into place systems for hazard identification, communication to employees, training, incident response, and reporting and retaliation prevention.
One of the most detailed proposed requirements is a compliant training program that teaches employees how to prevent and respond to workplace violence. Training would need to explain the employer’s workplace violence prevention plan and teach employees how to report concerns. For those employers with a workplace violence incident within the past five years, training would also have to address workplace violence hazards and correction measures, as well as the violent incident log. Moreover, employers would be obliged to implement additional training whenever a new workplace violence hazard is identified.
Currently, Cal/OSHA only directly regulates workplace violence prevention in the healthcare industry through its Violence Prevention in Health Care regulation. For all other industries, Cal/OSHA regulates such prevention indirectly through Section 3203, its version of the General Duty Clause. The new regulation is designed to augment protections for all California workers as workplace violence incidents, particularly workplace shootings, continue to rise.
The regulation was previously put forth on October 24, 2018, but the project was shelved after a comment period ending on December 14, 2018. Now, after revising the regulation, Cal/OSHA is once again seeking comments from the public, including employers themselves. Interested parties are asked to submit their written comments by July 18, 2022.
The revised regulation, if enacted, would impose significant new compliance burdens on employers. Writing and maintaining workplace violence prevention plans and providing adequate training will require specialized knowledge and experience. The seasoned compliance advisors at Clear Law Institute are monitoring this developing situation so that they can assist clients with compliance if and when the regulation becomes law.
Where Can Employers Find Reliable, Comprehensive Workplace Violence Prevention Training?
Clear Law Institute provides interactive, online active shooter training and workplace violence training. To create this training, Clear Law Institute worked with former FBI attorney and agent Katherine Scheit, who is a member of Clear Law’s Compliance Advisory Team. At the FBI, Katherine authored the FBI’s seminal research, A Study of 160 Active Shooter Incidents in the United States.
Clear Law’s training teaches individuals to spot red flags of potential workplace violence and gives detailed instructions on what to do if there is an active shooter in the building.
This online course is fully customizable; each organization can include their logo, workplace images, introductory messages, and the company’s unique policies and procedures for workplace violence prevention.