On September 29, 2020, Governor Newsom passed AB 2537, an assembly bill increasing the employer’s obligation to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) to the employees of general acute care hospitals.
What are the details?
This bill requires public and private employers of workers in a general acute care hospital, as defined, to supply those employees who provide direct patient care or provide services that directly support personal care with the PPE necessary to comply with the regulations described above, as specified. It also requires an employer to ensure that the employees use the PPE supplied to them. AB 2537 further requires that an employer in this context, beginning April 1, 2021, maintain a supply of specified equipment in an amount equal to three months of normal consumption. The bill requires an employer to provide an inventory of its stockpile and a copy of its written procedures, as specified, to the Division of Occupational Safety and Health upon request. It also authorizes the assessment of a civil penalty of up to $25,000 for each violation to maintain the required stockpile, except in certain circumstances. This bill requires an employer who is obligated to maintain an equipment stockpile and who controls a facility or setting in which another employer provides healthcare services to maintain the required equipment for the other employer.
AB 2537 requires a general acute care hospital, on or before January 15, 2021, to be prepared to report to the Department of Industrial Relations, under penalty of perjury, its highest seven-day consecutive daily average consumption of personal protective equipment during the 2019 calendar year and would exempt general acute care hospitals under the jurisdiction of the State Department of State Hospitals from this requirement, as specified. The bill also requires an employer to establish and implement effective written procedures for periodically determining the quantity and types of equipment used in
its normal consumption. The bill would also authorize the division to enforce these provisions through the issuance of citations, as specified. By expanding the crime of perjury, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
The full text of AB 2537 can be found here.
An article summarizing the bill can be found here.
What do employers need to do?
Employers operating a general acute care hospital should begin the process to acquire PPE for their employees as soon as possible. Workplace policies should be updated to help keep track of equipment usage, and employers should begin the process of identifying their highest seven-day consecutive daily average consumption in from 2019, so they may report it to the Department of Industrial Relations.