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Understanding SB 553: A Guide for California Employers on Workplace Safety

Are you a California employer gearing up for changes in workplace safety regulations? SB 553, signed into law in 2023, is set to revolutionize how businesses approach workplace violence prevention. Here's what you need to know to stay compliant and ensure a safe work environment for your employees.

Understanding SB 553

On September 30, 2023, Governor Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill (SB) 553 into law, ushering in a new era of workplace safety in California. This landmark legislation mandates the implementation of a comprehensive Workplace Violence Prevention Plan (WVPP) for nearly all employers operating in the state. Effective July 1, 2024, SB 553 represents a significant step forward in ensuring the well-being of employees across various industries.

Key Provisions of SB 553

1. Workplace Violence Definition

SB 553 defines workplace violence as any act or threat of violence occurring in a place of employment, encompassing physical force, verbal threats, or any conduct that poses a risk of physical harm or instills fear in individuals.

2. Types of Workplace Violence

The law outlines four types of workplace violence scenarios, providing employers with a framework for identifying and addressing potential risks:

  • Type 1: Violence by individuals with no legitimate business at the worksite.
  • Type 2: Violence directed at employees by clients, customers, or visitors.
  • Type 3: Violence perpetrated by current or former employees, supervisors, or managers.
  • Type 4: Violence involving individuals with personal relationships to employees.

3. Workplace Violence Prevention Plan (WVPP)

Under SB 553, employers must develop and implement a WVPP tailored to their specific workplace hazards. Key components of the plan include:

  • Responsible personnel designation
  • Employee input and enforcement procedures
  • Comprehensive training protocols
  • Incident reporting and investigation procedures
  • Anti-retaliation measures
  • Coordination of roles and interdepartmental communication

FAQ: Addressing Common Queries

What Prompted SB 553?

The legislation stemmed from efforts to regulate workplace violence beyond healthcare settings, driven by concerns for employee safety and well-being.

Who is Covered by SB 553?

Most California employers fall under the purview of SB 553, with certain exceptions outlined in the law.

How to Ensure Compliance?

Employers should begin developing their WVPPs now, considering Cal/OSHA's focus on workplace violence prevention.


As the implementation deadline for SB 553 approaches, California employers must prioritize workplace safety and compliance with the new law. By understanding its requirements and taking proactive steps, businesses can create safer environments for their employees and mitigate the risks of workplace violence incidents.

Stay tuned for more updates and insights on navigating SB 553 and other workplace safety regulations.

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