Cal/OSHA is in the process of revising its workplace violence regulations – which are currently only applicable to health care – to apply to general industry.
Non-healthcare industries have traditionally fallen under the state’s version of OSHA’s General Duty Clause when it comes to regulating workplace violence, but a May 17 draft revision of the healthcare standard would apply more broadly.
The draft regulation requires employers to establish and maintain an effective written Workplace Violence Protection Program (WVPP) that would include procedures for responding to a workplace violence emergency along with training on workplace violence for employees, according to law firm Jackson Lewis.
There’s also a requirement to keep a Violent Incident Log, but the current version of the draft indicates that employers who haven’t had an incident in the past five years would get an exemption.
Workplace violence defined
Under the draft regulation, workplace violence is defined as:
- the threat or use of physical force against an employee that results in, or has a high likelihood of resulting in, injury, psychological trauma, or stress, regardless of whether the employee sustains an injury, or
- an incident involving the threat or use of a firearm or other dangerous weapon, including the use of common objects as weapons, regardless of whether the employee sustains an injury.
There are also four different categories of workplace violence:
- Type 1, which involves violence committed by a person who has no legitimate business at the worksite
- Type 2, which applies to violent incidents directed at employees by customers, clients, patients, students, inmates or visitors
- Type 3, which is violence against an employee by a present or former employee, supervisor or manager, and
- Type 4, which sees the workplace violence committed by someone who doesn’t work at the worksite but has a personal relationship with an employee.
These categories would be used for recording purposes in the Violent Incident Log along with the date, time and location of an incident.
Proposed workplace violence plan requirements
The currently proposed prevention plan requirement includes having employers develop procedures to:
- accept and respond to reports of workplace violence while prohibiting retaliation against an employee who makes a report
- ensure that supervisory and non-supervisory employees comply with the plan
- communicate with employees regarding workplace violence matters including how to report incidents and how employees will be informed of the results of an investigation
- respond to workplace violence emergencies, including information on how employees will be alerted about an incident, evacuation or sheltering plans and how to get help from staff, security or law enforcement, and
- identify workplace violence hazards, including scheduled periodic inspections to identify unsafe conditions and work practices.
Employers would also be required to evaluate the workplace violence hazards identified through periodic inspections and create procedures to correct those hazards in a timely manner.
Will this go anywhere?
Cal/OSHA invited interested parties to submit written comments on the draft regulation by July 18, 2022, according to Jackson Lewis, but it’s not clear how fast this rulemaking process will move.
The law firm pointed out that a previous effort to adopt similar regulations in 2018 stalled out.