Focus: Fire-Life Safety / Column

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

By Brad Keyes / Special to Healthcare Facilities Today
June 5, 2019

NOTE: This is a follow-up to a question that was asked in the March, 2019 issue of Healthcare Facilities Today.

Q: Housekeeping products like germicidal, glass cleaner, air freshener are stored in a locked metal box on housekeeping cart. All of our stock of these and other products are stored in two large locked metal lockers. They are not fire proof cabinets (i.e. Yellow red writing on them). The surveyor said aerosols all have to be stored in fire rated cabinets. While they are in use while on housekeeping carts, they will have to be checked in and out daily from a fire cabinet.

Like I said before he did not cite a tag or code for this he just told us we had to do it. I have searched and so much is left to interpretation I am confused on what to do. With all the changes occurring and more to come with state regulations and inspections I would like to be prepared.

A: It is safe to say that there is no NFPA standard, no CMS standard, and no accreditation standard that specifically says aerosol cans must be stored in a fire rated cabinet. However, if access to these aerosol products by unauthorized individuals is a safety risk (i.e. can children get into them) then it may be perceived as an unsafe environment and the surveyor would have a legitimate concern about them.

I suggest you go back to the surveyor and ask them why they believe the aerosol products have to be stored in a fire-rated cabinet. Ask for a specific code, standard, or regulation that they are using to make this recommendation.

Otherwise… it’s not a code violation, but a surveyor’s 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.

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