In response to abnormally high personal protective equipment (PPE) demand and associated supply chain shortages experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic, AB 2537 (signed into law in September 2020) created Labor Code section 6403.3. This section requires, among other things, that general acute care hospitals maintain a stockpile of specified respirators, particulate filters or cartridges, surgical masks, isolation gowns, eye protection, and shoe coverings, in “the amount equal to three months of “normal consumption.” However, “normal consumption” is not defined by the Labor Code. To remedy the lack of clarity, the proposed definition was developed, and includes a formula to determine mandated employer stockpiles.
The draft “normal PPE consumption” definition can be viewed on Cal/OSHA’s website. Although the proposed definition is specific to those who provide direct patient care or who provide services that directly support patient care in a general acute care hospital, it is foreseeable and certainly best practice that the PPE stockpile formula be applied to other critical service providers, including first responders.
Those wishing to provide comment pertaining to the proposed “normal PPE consumption” definition may do so by emailing Lisa Brokaw at firstname.lastname@example.org; faxing to (510) 286-7039; or by mail or hand-delivery to Lisa Brokaw, Staff Counsel, at Cal/OSHA Legal Unit, 1515 Clay Street, Suite 1901, Oakland, California 94612.
In an effort to maintain compliance, PRISM members subject to this standard are encouraged to keep abreast of the regulatory landscape surrounding PPE requirements and the COVID-19 Prevention standard. Members should also be prepared to further refine their policies and procedures as the standard and its interpretation continues to evolve. To assist with this, PRISM will continue to post updates as information becomes available.
Members who have questions or need assistance with COVID-19 prevention, or any other workplace health and safety programs, can contact Cal/OSHA’s Consultation Services at 800-963-9424, or email email@example.com.
For questions about this blog or PRISM’s monitoring of COVID-19 regulation, please contact PRISM Risk Control.