Focus: Fire-Life Safety / Column

Regulations, Codes & Standards Q&A: Aerosol can storage

By Brad Keyes / Special to Healthcare Facilities Today
March 20, 2019

Q: Our nursing home just completed a state survey and while we were not cited we were "warned" that all aerosols are to be put into fireproof cabinet. The metal cabinets and toolboxes we have them in currently are not adequate. We use metal toolboxes on housekeeping carts to store one can of each cleaning product we use. The surveyor said these would have be logged in and out daily from fireproof cabinet. Is this an actual NFPA requirement?

A: This is not a Life Safety Code requirement. I’m always suspicious when I hear a surveyor ‘warns’ a facility about an alleged issue rather than actually cite them. In this day and age of the CMS dominant mantra of “If you see it, cite it” mentally, I have to question why didn’t the surveyor actually cite it. One reason could be that it is not a violation of any code or regulation, but it is a surveyor preference. Perhaps the surveyor is using his/her authority to cajole the facility into doing something that is actually not required. Would the facility be safer if all aerosols are stored in a fire-rated cabinet? Perhaps, but if it is not a requirement then the ends have to justify the means.

You didn’t say what was in the aerosol cans; are the contents flammable? According to NFPA 30-2012 flammable liquids are permitted to be stored in their original containers up to 1-gallon in size, and you do not need special containment (i.e. fire-rated cabinet) until the aggregate total of the stored product (per smoke compartment) reaches 5 gallons. To me, aerosol cans placed on a housekeeper’s cart would not be considered in storage – they would be considered in use. However, there are other aspects to consider: Are the cans of aerosol products on the housekeeper’s cart safe from unauthorized individuals (i.e. children, dementia patients)? If not, then that may be a valid reason to place them inside a storage container. 

I’m not telling you to NOT follow the surveyor’s advice, but I am saying the warning is not based on Life Safety Code or other NFPA requirements. Perhaps it is based on state or local regulations. If you haven’t already done so, ask him/her to cite the code or standard that requires the storage requirements. If there is an actual code or standard that requires it, then we learned something. But if there is not an actual code or standard that requires it, then the surveyor will back down and admit it is a recommendation or preference.

Brad Keyes, CHSP, is the owner of KEYES Life Safety Compliance, and his expertise is in the management of the Life Safety Program, including the Environment of Care and Emergency Management programs.

See the latest posts on our homepage


Share

Topic Area: Regulations, Codes & Standards


Recent Posts
Recent Posts

South Carolina hospitals reviewing security after two shootings


South Carolina Hospital Association hosted a webinar about violence in healthcare settings

4/25/2019

Integrating modern equipment into existing spaces


The size of the new equipment, the need to reconfigured floor plans and existing building constraints must be considered

4/25/2019

Study finds low hand-hygiene compliance in ICUs


Hand-hygiene compliance was lowest when moving from dirtier to cleaner patient-care tasks

4/25/2019

Tennessee hospital boost security following shooting


The Regional Medical Center in Orangeburg is adding armed guards

4/25/2019

Focus: Energy Efficiency

HVAC, lighting upgrades help facility save money


Changes support user needs and cut energy costs

4/25/2019





Post Comment




FREE
NEWSLETTER

News & Updates • Webcast Alerts • Building Technologies

All fields are required.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.