California Senate Bill 553 (SB 553) introduces new mandates for employers across the state, requiring the implementation of a workplace violence prevention plan (WVPP). This legislation aims to enhance the safety and security of workplaces by setting clear guidelines for public and private employers alike. Here’s a friendly guide to understanding and complying with SB 553, ensuring your business stays on the right side of the law.

Applicability of SB 553

Public and Private Employers: SB 553 casts a wide net, applying to both public and private employers. The bill defines ‘employer’ to include:

  1. Private, public, or quasi-public corporations.
  2. Federal agencies, the state, state agencies, cities, counties, or districts.
  3. Any public agency within these entities.

Exceptions: Not all employers are required to comply with SB 553. Key exemptions include:

  1. Health Care Facilities, as covered by Section 3342 of Title 8 of the California Code of Regulations.
  2. Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Facilities, in compliance with Section 3203 of Title 8.
  3. Law Enforcement Agencies, adhering to specified POST Program requirements.
  4. Teleworking Employees working from locations not controlled by the employer.
  5. Small Worksites with fewer than ten employees that are not accessible to the public.

What Does “Accessible to the Public” Mean?

While SB 553 does not explicitly define “accessible to the public,” it generally refers to worksites that can be freely entered by the public without authorization. For example:

Locked Doors and Restricted Access: A worksite with locked doors and access control
(i.e., key fob or security guard) is usually not considered accessible to the public.

Employee Count: The exemption for small worksites (fewer than 10 employees) does not apply if there are 11 or more employees at the site, regardless of public accessibility.

Compliance Requirements

To comply with SB 553, employers need to take several steps:

1. Develop a Workplace Violence Prevention Plan (WVPP): Content: The WVPP must be in writing and include:

  • Names or job titles of persons responsible for the plan.
  • Procedures for employee involvement.
  • Methods to coordinate with other employers.
  • Procedures for accepting and responding to reports of workplace violence.
  • Procedures to ensure employee compliance with the plan.
  • Communication methods regarding workplace violence.
  • Emergency response procedures.
  • Training programs for employees.
  • Procedures for identifying and evaluating workplace violence hazards.
  • Procedures for correcting identified hazards.
  • Post-incident response and investigation procedures.
  • Regular review and update of the plan.

2. Maintain Records:

  • Employers must keep a violent incident log and other required records for
    specified periods.

3. Provide Training:

  • Initial and annual training must be provided to employees on the WVPP and
    workplace violence prevention.

4. Regular Review and Update:

  • The WVPP should be regularly reviewed and updated, especially after incidents or when new hazards are identified.


SB 553 places significant responsibilities on both public and private employers to ensure a safe workplace through the development and maintenance of a workplace violence prevention plan. Specific exemptions do apply, particularly for small worksites that are not accessible to the public. It is important to note, for Labor Unions, and Independent Employee Associations, such entities must also adhere to these requirements if they have ten (10) or more employees or if their worksites are accessible to the public.

Enforcement by Cal/OSHA: Cal/OSHA is tasked with enforcing SB 553. Non-compliance can result in citations and civil penalties, making it crucial for employers to implement and maintain a robust WVPP.

How GRT Can Help!

Here at GRT, we have extensive resources and expertise in policy creation and providing the necessary training to ensure your organization complies with SB 553. Our team is well-versed in developing customized workplace violence prevention plans and conducting comprehensive training sessions tailored to your specific needs. Contact us today to find out how we can assist your organization in becoming compliant and fully trained on the requirements of SB 553. Let us help you create a safer work environment for everyone!