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March 31, 2021 – Nurses welcome the April 1, 2021 implementation of a new law requiring hospitals to create and maintain a three-month stockpile of N95 respirators, gowns, and other personal protective equipment (PPE), announced the California Nurses Association (CNA) today. CNA was the sponsor of the bill, AB 2537, requiring the new rule.

“Hospitals across the country failed to provide nurses and other health care workers with optimal PPE when Covid-19 hit and the consequences were devastating and deadly,” said Cathy Kennedy, RN and a president of California Nurses Association. “At least 360 nurses have died from Covid-19 and tens of thousands more became sick during this pandemic. Hospitals have a responsibility to ensure that their employees have the equipment they need to stay safe. This new law is an important step in holding hospitals accountable and protecting nurses and other health care workers.”

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed AB 2537 in September 2020. Authored by Assemblymember Freddie Rodriguez, it applies to employers whose employees provide direct patient care in a public- or private-sector hospital setting. The new law mandates these employers maintain a stockpile of new and unexpired personal protective equipment in the amount equal to three months of normal consumption. In addition, the law requires employers to establish and implement effective written procedures for periodically determining the quantity and types of equipment used in its normal consumption.

Additionally, employers are required to provide an inventory of their stockpiles to Cal/OSHA upon request. Under the new law, employers who violate this requirement shall be assessed a civil penalty of up to $25,000 for each such violation pursuant to Cal/OSHA.

California Nurses Association/National Nurses United is the largest and fastest-growing union and professional association of registered nurses in the nation with 100,000 members in more than 200 facilities throughout California and more than 170,000 RNs nationwide.