Safety

Tip of the week: When it comes to life safety, take a conservative approach to new hazardous areas

Hospital Safety Insider, April 16, 2008

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A Life Safety Code (LSC) issue that can lead to considerable debate is what happens when you construct a new hazardous area as defined in section 8.4. A common example of this in healthcare is converting a patient room to storage.
 
Because it is likely the storage room is in excess of 50 square feet, it counts as a hazardous area under the LSC, said James Lathrop, vice president of Koffel Associates, Inc., in Niantic, CT.
 
Since no one argues that this storage room must then meet the various requirements for hazardous areas, the issue becomes whether the area should meet the provisions for new or existing construction (section 18.3.2.1 or 19.3.2.1 in the LSC, depending on classification). 
 
Both sides of this argument have merit, but to be safe, use the more conservative requirements for new construction, Lathrop suggested. The 2009 edition of the LSC will clarify this aspect, he added.
 
If you want more in-depth information each month about LSC requirements for healthcare occupancies, check out our “Cracking the Code” column in Healthcare Life Safety Compliance.
 



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