September 21, 2009 | | Comments 0
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Regulatory gray areas around this series of less-than-best practices

I was asked about a clean utility room that is also an electrical storage closet, which contains electrical panels, many wires, and oxygen cylinder storage against the wires.

It sounds like the organization had to make use of the available space for its network cabling, and while this is not an optimal environment of care practice, there’s no real regulatory language that precludes it. That said, there are a couple of things I would cite as “other environmental concerns” to consider:

  • If there are more than 12 E-size compressed gas cylinders (but fewer than 125) and the room has sprinklers, then the organization needs to maintain 5 ft. of clearance around the cylinders.
  • The inherent risks of storing stuff so close to the cabling
  • From a security standpoint, having the network cabling so accessible

This type of situation does not usually fly too well with the more prickly members of the survey army, as it does not represent good decision-making — even in recognition of space constraints.

This is all less-than-best practice, but specific regulatory guidance is a whole lotta gray.

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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 stevemacsafetyspace@gmail.com.

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