United States: No April Fools: Groundbreaking California Workplace Violence Safety Order For Healthcare Workers To Take Effect On April 1

The California Division of Occupational Safety & Health Standards Board recently passed a new safety order intended to protect healthcare workers from workplace violence. The new safety order, which the California Office of Administrative Law approved on December 8, 2016, will require healthcare providers to develop workplace violence prevention plans, institute training programs, and keep records on certain incidents of workplace violence. The new General Industry Safety Order, entitled "Workplace Violence Prevention in Health care" and codified at the California Code of Regulations, Title 8, Section 3342, will become effective on April 1, 2017.

Covered Employers

The new safety order applies to the following types of healthcare facilities:

  • "Health facilities" defined as "any facility, place, or building that is organized, maintained, and operated for the diagnosis, care, prevention, or treatment of human illness, physical or mental, including convalescence and rehabilitation and including care during and after pregnancy, or for any one or more of these purposes, for one or more persons, to which the persons are admitted for a 24-hour stay or longer"
  • Outpatient medical offices and clinics
  • Home health care and home-based hospice
  • Paramedic and emergency medical services, including paramedic and emergency services provided by firefighters and other emergency responders
  • Field operations such as mobile clinics and dispensing operations, medical outreach services, and other off-site operations
  • Drug treatment programs
  • Ancillary healthcare operations

According to the new safety order, different facilities must comply with different provisions of the new law. For example, general acute care hospitals, acute psychiatric hospitals, and special hospitals must comply with all the provisions with which health facilities must comply—and, in addition, must report incidents to the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) of the Department of Industrial Relations.

Workplace Violence Prevention Plan

The new safety order requires every covered employer—as part of its Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP)—to "implement and maintain an effective workplace violence prevention plan." The new safety order specifies the following requirements:

  • The plan must be in writing.
  • It must be in effect at all times.
  • The plan must be in effect in every unit, service, and operation.
  • Plans must be "specific to the hazards and corrective measures for the unit, service, or operation."
  • The plan must be available to employees at all times.

Employers have the option to incorporate the plan into their written IIPPs or maintain a separate violence prevention plan.

To comply with the safety order, the workplace violence protection plan must include the following elements, among others:

  1. The names or job titles of the persons responsible for implementing the plan
  2. Procedures to involve employees and their representatives, in addition to security personnel, in developing, implementing, and reviewing a workplace violence plan
  3. Procedures for coordinating implementation of a workplace violence plan with other employers whose employees work in the healthcare facility, service, or operation
  4. "A policy prohibiting the employer from disallowing an employee from, or taking punitive or retaliatory action against an employee for, seeking assistance and intervention from local emergency services or law enforcement when a violent incident occurs"
  5. Procedures to accept and respond to reports of workplace violence, including a prohibition against retaliating against employees who make such reports
  6. "Assessment procedures to identify and evaluate environmental risk factors, including community-based risk factors, for each facility, unit, service, or operation"

Violent Incident Log

The new safety order requires employers to record information about "every incident, post-incident response, and workplace violence injury investigation" in a violent incident log. Employers must record at least the following information in the log:

  1. "The date, time, specific location, and department of the incident"
  2. Information provided by each employee who experienced workplace violence, including:

    1. a description of the incident,
    2. a classification of the perpetrator, i.e., a patient, client, customer, family member of friend of the patient, a friend of family member of a client or customer, a stranger with criminal intent, a coworker, a supervisor, a partner or spouse, a parent or relative, etc.
    3. the "circumstances at the time of the incident, including whether the employee was completing usual job duties, working in poorly lit areas, rushed, working during a low staffing level, in a high crime area, isolated or alone, unable to get help or assistance, working in a community setting, working in an unfamiliar or new location, or other circumstances"
  3. A description of the incident, including where the incident occurred and the type of incident, i.e., a physical attack, an attack with a weapon or object, a threat of physical force, a sexual assault or threat, etc.
  4. The consequences of the incident, including whether the employee received medical treatment and whether security or law enforcement was contacted
  5. The name, title, phone number, and email address of the person completing the log and the date the log was completed

Communication With Employees

The new safety order requires an employer's workplace prevention plan to include procedures to communicate with employees regarding workplace violence matters, including procedures for:

  1. how to communicate information regarding conditions that may increase the potential for workplace violence incidents among employees and between shifts and units;
  2. how to report a violent incident, threat, or other workplace violence concern;
  3. how employees can communicate their concerns about workplace violence without fear of reprisal; and
  4. how the employer will investigate employee concerns, inform employees of the results of such investigations, and take any corrective actions.


The new safety order requires employers to train all employees, including temporary employees, working in their facilities. The training must address the identified workplace violence hazards for each facility, any corrective measures that the employer has implemented, and any activities employees are "reasonably anticipated to perform" under the workplace prevention plan. Employers must conduct an initial training when they first implement a workplace violence protection plan.

In addition, employers must train newly hired employees and employees that it newly assigns "to perform duties for which the training required in this subsection was not previously provided." Employers must also train employees when they introduce new equipment or work practices and when an employer identifies "a new or previously unrecognized workplace violence hazard."

Key Takeaways

Given the safety order's extensive requirements, potentially covered healthcare employers will want to begin the process of preparing to comply as soon as possible. Workplace violence plans required under the new rule are complex in that they address workplace security, violence, and safety issues. Thus, employers will want to formulate a compliant plan and consider consultation with a security expert, workplace violence expert, and/or workplace safety consultant.

One more consideration for non-medical employers is that Cal/OSHA is currently underway on a rulemaking on a similar workplace violence regulation that is expected to apply to all workplaces in California.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of www.mondaq.com

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about Mondaq.com’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to unsubscribe@mondaq.com with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to webmaster@mondaq.com.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to EditorialAdvisor@mondaq.com.

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at enquiries@mondaq.com.

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at problems@mondaq.com and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.