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Trash containers in soiled utility rooms

There was a posting on Safety Talk recently about whether any regulations exist governing the size of trash containers in soiled utility rooms. In this particular case, the room had no trash chute, was one-hour-rated, and had sprinklers.

There are requirements in the Life Safety Code for this type of arrangement, based on 19.7.5.7, which sets size limits for soiled linen and trash containers.

However, 19.7.5.7 also notes that facilities are exempt from these limits if containers are in hazardous areas protected by a one-hour fire barriers or sprinklers (see 19.3.2.1).

So, in the Safety Talk poster’s situation, it appears that particular facility met the protection criteria for such a space.

On an unrelated note, please enjoy a most freewheeling 4th!

Beyond cell phones

I still hear a lot of discussion about whether to limit cell phone use within hospitals, but sometimes I think that cell phones are the least of our worries.

I still find that organizations haven’t really come to grips with the other communications technologies that are much more likely to result in electromagnetic interference–primarily two-way radios used by security officers, maintenance crews, etc.

Also, emergency response plans for communications system disruptions usually include provisions for a mix of cell phones and two-way radios as backups.

Now I’m not saying that’s a bad thing in and of itself, but you have to provide guidelines when staff members use these communication devices. Make sure all related policies and procedures are consistent in their application of any prohibitions, too.

New isolation guidelines are out

Don’t know if anyone else heard this yet, but maybe it’s of interest–the CDC released its updated isolation precautions guidelines, which you can view here:

http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dhqp/pdf/guidelines/Isolation2007.pdf

One more thing about ratings of patient bedroom doors

Regarding my post yesterday about rated doors, perhaps a little clarification is in order. My note was aimed at exiting healthcare occupancies under Chapter 19 of the Life Safety Code.

In looking through the code for other occupancies for which this door requirement might be applicable in sleeping areas (e.g., dormitory/hotel, residential board and care), I could find no other mention.

Thanks to those who asked me about this.

Rating of patient bedroom doors

A colleague recently asked me whether patient bedroom doors should be 20-minute-rated-and the answer is yes, they should. But there are some qualifications on that answer, depending on sprinkler protection.

Under paragraph 19.3.6.3.1, the 2000 Life Safety Code requires doors protecting corridor openings to resist the passage of smoke and be constructed of the following:

  • 1 3/4-in. thick, solid-bonded core wood
  • Material that resists fire for at least 20 minutes

There are two exceptions to 19.3.6.3.1, though:

  • Doors to toilet rooms, bathrooms, shower rooms, sink closets, and similar auxiliary spaces that don’t contain flammable or combustible materials don’t need to meet 19.3.6.3.1’s provisions
  • In smoke compartments protected by sprinklers, the door construction requirements of 19.3.6.3.1 aren’t mandatory, but the doors must resist the passage of smoke