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Legislation Would Outlaw Surgical Smoke in Calif. ORs

Lawmakers press forward with a bill that would mandate the use of smoke-evacuation systems in healthcare settings.

Published: April 19, 2017

MANDATORY EVACUATION Those in California ORs could soon be breathing easier, as state lawmakers move ahead with a bill that would mandate the use of smoke-evacuation systems.

California could become the first U.S. state to make surgical smoke evacuation mandatory. Assembly Bill 402 would require California healthcare facilities to use "plume-scavenging systems" in any setting in which a surgeon's use of an electrocautery device or any other electrosurgical device creates surgical smoke. The bill would also require manufacturers of smoke-evacuation systems to provide evidence that their systems meet specified minimum requirements when installed, operated and maintained as instructed.

Having passed the Employment and Labor Committee and the Appropriations Committee, the bill will now move to the Assembly floor for a vote.

A.B. 402, which was sponsored by the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United, would require the Division of Occupational Safety and Health to develop a regulation by June 1, 2018, and then submit the proposed regulation to the state's Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board by June 1, 2019. The board would then have one year to adopt the proposed regulation.

California lawmakers attempted to pass similar legislation last year. Although Assembly members approved the bill, A.B. 2272, Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed it in September 2016.

Bill Donahue


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