Safety

Tip of the week: Use Life Safety Code requirements to bolster your decoration policies

Hospital Safety Insider, October 22, 2008

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Many staff members enjoy hanging festive holiday decorations from Halloween through the end of the year. The 2000 edition of the Life Safety Code (LSC) sets a variety of provisions that give some regulatory teeth to your decoration policies and help you keep decorations in check.

Paragraph 7.1.10.2.1 in the LSC states that no furnishings or decorations can block exits, access to and from them, or their visibility.

Also, paragraphs 18/19.7.5.4 prohibit combustible decorations from any hospital unless they are flame-retardant. An exception allows combustible decorations, such as photographs and paintings, if they are in limited quantities that don't create a risk of fire development or spread.

Besides requiring compliance with the LSC under EC.5.20 (which will expand into the new life safety standards in 2009), The Joint Commission specifically discusses decorations under EC.5.10 (managing fire safety risks, which will become EC.02.03.01 in 2009).

Under element of performance (EP) 5 in EC.5.10, surveyors can check whether hospitals have reviewed decorations and furnishings for fire safety. They may request records that prove these reviews took place.

By the way, EP 5 will disappear from EC.02.03.01 in 2009 because it is already covered under the life safety standards.



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