Q: A surveyor cited us for not having positive latching doors to our entrance of the ICU suite. We have magnetic-locks on those doors and pointed out that they serve as positive latching. He refused our position and cited us anyway. Don’t magnetic locks qualify as positive latching hardware on doors?
A: No, they do not. Locks are not the same as positive latches. The magnetic locks that you mentioned are most likely access-control locks as described in section 126.96.36.199.2 of the 2000 edition of the Life Safety Code. Those electronic magnetic locks are required to unlock upon activation of the fire alarm system. That’s when you need the corridor door to positively latch the most: during a fire. Also, make sure there is a motion sensor mounted on the egress side of the doors served by the magnetic locks, along with a button mounted on the wall within 5 feet of the doors, when activated will unlock the magnetic-locks for a minimum of 30 seconds. The button must be labeled “Push to Exit”.