August 31, 2009 | | Comments 0
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Properly secured medical gas cylinders center on convenience — that’s all

I’m told there was a mention at the ASHE conference that The Joint Commission might introduce a compressed medical gas cylinder standard in 2011.

And what wonders would result from a compressed gas storage standard? Oh yes, that’ll force frontline staff to make sure that they secure every cylinder.

But maybe we should just have a standard that speaks to anything done in the name of convenience. People understand that they’re not supposed to leave cylinders unsecured. If you were to show just about anyone in healthcare a picture of a room with an unsecured cylinder standing in the corner, he or she would be able to identify the problem, I would venture to guess.

But as a boss of mine noted you can’t mandate intelligence, and in instances like this, if there’s nothing immediately available with which to secure the cylinder, then the likelihood of that cylinder being secured in the next moments is almost zero — not because staff members don’t understand that they’re not supposed to do it, but because the securing device was not readily (read: conveniently) located nearby.

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Filed Under: Environment of care


Steve MacArthur About the Author: Steve MacArthur is a safety consultant with The Greeley Company in Danvers, Mass. He brings more than 30 years of healthcare management and consulting experience to his work with hospitals, physician offices, and ambulatory care facilities across the country. He is the author of HCPro's Hospital Safety Director's Handbook and is contributing editor for Briefings on Hospital Safety. Contact Steve at

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