Smaller healthcare facilities struggle to determine where they fit in concerning the Life Safety Code, reports the April issue of Medical Environment Update . No one ever said fire safety was easy. But at least if you are a hospital or larger medical facility that falls under Joint Commission accreditation, your fire safety requirements are spelled out, as intricate as they may be.
But for small facilities such as physician offices or dental practices, fire safety can easily be buried at the bottom of their to-do lists.
Such organizations are sometimes unsure whether to follow the National Fire Protection Association’s Life Safety Code® (LSC) or regulations set forth by a local fire marshal. In addition, there are OSHA concerns to factor in, making it difficult to determine when one standard ends and another begins.
But fire safety is equally important in a smaller medical setting, and receiving the proper guidance for the correct standards to follow is the most important step.
Discerning the LSC
Try looking up “physician office” in the LSC. You won’t find it. That’s because small medical facilities, such as physician offices, fall under the category of business rather than healthcare occupancy. Although there are discernible differences with each category, the main difference is that a business occupancy usually has patients who can get out on their own, whereas a hospital houses many inpatients who have sleeping accommodations or are physically incapable of moving themselves. But this is not easily laid out and can require complicated and deductions, says Brad Keyes, CHSP, safety consultant at The Greeley Company, a division of HCPro, Inc., in Marblehead, MA.
Also in this article, discover tips on looking to your local fire authorities for free advice, determining what type of occupancy you are and the regulations that go with it, fire extinguisher training and evacuation plans, and an OSHA fire safety quick-guide .
The April Medical Environment Update  also includes:
- A new OSHA interpretation letter on needle removal devices
- Emergency planning for physician offices
- What states attract the most inspection activity? 
- Quick self-inspection checklist for reviewing your hazardous drug policy during National Safe Handling Awareness Month
- Infection control tip on why not to disinfect medical devices with the office dishwasher 
- Ask the expert Q&As on N95s respirators and beaded workers; OSHA requirements for providing tap or bottled water , and when might IT staff be covered under the blood borne pathogens standard.
- A quiz designed to test your understanding of OSHA standards and government regulatory guidelines applying to healthcare facilities
Did you find this advice helpful? Learn how you can get all your OSHA questions answered by registering for OSHA Healthcare Advisor’s “Q&A Roundtable: Solutions to Your Compliance Challenges” audioconference .