With the California Workplace Violence Prevention Bill — aka CA SB 553 — set to go into effect on July 1st, 2024, we’re taking some time in the lead-up to answer some frequently-asked questions about the legislation. Interested in our previously-answered questions? You can find those below:

Now, before we get too far along, let’s make some introductions: We’re Ethena, a compliance training platform for modern teams. We have a variety of training courses, an employee hotline and case management system, and we get pretty nerdy and excited about any changes to compliance law. 🤓

All of which brings us back to today’s question:

What needs to go into my SB 553 training and how long do I need to give people to complete it?

This one’s a two-parter, so let’s get started with the first half of that question.

What kind of training does SB 553 require?

Employers are required to provide workplace violence prevention training that’s effective, accessible to all employees, and relevant to the workforce in terms of content, vocabulary, and the language it’s offered in.

The training content must include a specific set of requirements; more on that below.

What needs to be included in my SB 553 training?

We also cover this information in checklist form with all the SB 553 compliance requirements, in case that’s preferable to you. But if you want to see it without learning about what needs to be included in the workplace violent prevention plan (as opposed to training) and what must go into the violent incident log, you’re in the right place. 

Your workplace’s SB 553 training must include:

  • Your company’s Workplace Violence Prevention Plan (template available here, in case you need help getting started!)
  • How to get a no-cost copy of that Plan
  • Information about how employees can get involved in developing and implementing the Plan
  • Definitions and requirements
  • How to report workplace violence concerns without needing to fear retaliation or reprisal, whether you’re reporting to your employer or to law enforcement
  • A list of workplace violence hazards that are specific to your employees’ roles
  • The preventative measures that are currently in place
  • How to get help preventing or responding to violence
  • Strategies for avoiding physical harm in the event of a violent incident
  • The violent incident log maintained by your company
  • How to get copies of records
  • An opportunity for an interactive Q&A session with a person knowledgeable about your Workplace Violence Prevention Plan

When does this training need to be issued?

The Bill’s text is equally prescriptive when it comes to when and how often training needs to be assigned. It needs to go out when the Plan is first created, annually from then on, and whenever/if ever the Plan is changed and when/if a new or previously unrecognized workplace violence hazard has been identified.

What kind of records am I required to keep?

And your obligation doesn’t stop with simply issuing training. You’re also required to maintain training records for at least a year, and to ensure that those records include:

These records, including all that info above, have to be made available upon request for examination and copying in the event of an audit. And they also need to be made available to employees and/or their representatives at no cost and within 15 calendar days of the request.

  • Dates over which the training was completed
  • Contents of the training, or a summary of what was covered in the sessions
  • Names and qualifications of those who conducted the trainings, and
  • Names and job titles of everyone in attendance for the training sessions

How long do I need to give my employees to complete their Workplace Violence Prevention training?

Here, unfortunately, is where the law is currently a bit light on information. As of this writing — and don’t worry, we’ll update this post when we know more — there are requirements about when training must be given, but no specific requirement about the length of the training, or the date by which it must be completed.

That doesn’t mean, of course, that there are no requirements. What it means is that we’re all in the same boat, waiting to see if CalOSHA will deliver additional guidance on this topic before the July 1st, 2024 effective date. 

Again, there’s no guarantee that they will, so this is where we are for the moment. Just know that if they do pipe up, we’ll make sure you hear about it.

Ethena is here to help you toward compliance with California SB 553

So what are you supposed to do in the meantime? Well, you can hang out with us! Not only will we be answering more frequently-asked SB 553 questions throughout the month (just one more topic to go!), but we also have a few resources you can peek through to make sure you’ve taken all the steps you can toward SB 553 compliance. 

As mentioned above, we have our Workplace Violence Prevention plan template, which walks you through the process of drawing up your own company’s Plan. We have a live training course that you can preview content for. We have an even deeper dive into SB 553 if you have lingering curiosity about the Bill and its history. Or we have a delightful Sales team ready to answer your every question about how Ethena can help you toward SB 553 compliance in both the short and long term. 

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