Q: Is there a code for blanket warmers, towel warmers and such equipment that is used in a medical setting? Since they do have a heating element would it be the same as having a space heater?
A: No… Portable space heaters are regulated by section 19.7.8 of the 2012 LSC. Blanket warmers are not regulated by the LSC. However, blanket warmers are unofficially regulated by the accreditation organization and by CMS. While there are not specific standards that address blanket warmers, surveyors will expect the hospital to regulate their blanket warmers via their own policies.
The hospital is expected to have a policy that sets the maximum temperature that the blankets may be. Usually, the maximum temp is set at 130 degrees F. Anything over that will likely be scrutinized by a surveyor. Blanket warmers are considered medical equipment and must be included in the medical equipment inventory, and they must be maintained in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations.
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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