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New California law requires certain hospitals to create, maintain PPE stockpile

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Sacramento, CA — A bill signed into law Sept. 29 by California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) will require certain hospitals in the state to create and maintain at least a three-month supply of personal protective equipment, and ensure nurses and other health care workers use the PPE supplied to them.

Sponsored by the California Nurses Association and authored by state Assemblymember Freddie Rodriguez (D-Pomona), A.B. 2537 applies to public and private hospitals where employees provide direct care or services that directly support personal care.

Beginning April 1, hospitals covered under the law will be required to maintain a stockpile of N95 filtering facepiece respirators, powered air-purifying respirators with high-efficiency particulate air filters, elastomeric air-purifying respirators and appropriate particulate filters or cartridges, surgical masks, isolation gowns, eye protection, and shoe coverings in the amount of three months of “normal consumption.” All single-use items in the stockpile must be unexpired, new, and not previously worn or used.

Each hospital must maintain written procedures for “determining the quality and types of equipment used in its normal consumption.” Employers also will have to supply the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health, also known as Cal/OSHA, their stockpile inventory upon request.

 

Each violation of the law will carry a civil fine of up to $25,000, unless Cal/OSHA determines an employer couldn’t meet the requirements “due to issues beyond their control,” such as PPE manufacturers not fulfilling orders or damaged/stolen PPE.

“Hospitals are responsible for providing a safe workplace, and that includes PPE,” CNA President Zenei Cortez said in a Sept. 29 press release. “They should not be relying exclusively on support from federal or state government stockpiles to provide PPE for nurses and other health care workers.”

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