Sep 24 2012

Linen Chute Doors

Category: Chutes,Questions and AnswersBKeyes @ 5:00 am

Q: Do linen chute doors have to be locked? Our risk manager says they are required to be locked, but I don’t see anything in the LSC that says that. What are the requirements for chute doors in regards to the LSC?

A: I will assume you are referring to an existing occupancy. There is no requirement in the Life Safety Code to lock linen (or trash) chute doors. Also, there are no direct standards from Joint Commission, HFAP or DNV that require locks on linen (or trash) chute doors. Where hospitals get into trouble with this issue is failing to assess the perceived risk. Any surveyor or inspector can look at a chute door that is not locked and ask to see the risk assessment that allows the door to be left unlocked. The perceived risk is that an unauthorized individual may open the door and fall into the chute. An assessment could analyze that risk and determine if it is a low, medium or high risk for that particular area. If the chute door is located in an area where there are children, patients or visitors, then the risk is naturally higher than in areas where there are no children. Other factors must be assessed as well, such as behavioral health or Alzheimer’s units, forensic units and unsupervised areas. Whenever a risk assessment is conducted, make sure you include a wide variety of stakeholders in order to gain a well-rounded perspective. Once the assessment is completed, have your Safety Committee review it and approve it, and get their decision posted in the minutes. For new construction, access to linen and trash chute doors must be within a room, and either the chute door or the access room door must be locked, but not both.

Jul 01 2011

Locked Linen and Waste Chute Doors?

Category: Chutes,Questions and AnswersBKeyes @ 8:19 pm

Q: Can you please direct me to where it says we have to have locks on our linen and waste chutes? What is the requirement and where does it come from?

A: According to the 2000 edition of the LSC, section requires new chutes to comply with section 9.5 which requires compliance with NFPA 82. NFPA 82 (1999 edition), section 3- says that either the chute access door must be locked or the door to the service room where the chute access door is located must be locked, but not both. Therefore, any chute that has been installed or altered since March 1, 2003, must comply with NFPA 82 and have locking doors. Existing chutes must comply with the code or standard in force at the time the chute was constructed or altered, or it must comply with the requirements of chapter 19, whichever is more restrictive. Chapter 19 says existing chutes do not have to comply with NFPA 82, therefore, the access door does not have to be locked. However, an assessment should be made to determine if there is a risk to safety for patients in the area, such as pediatric, geriatric and behavioral health patients. As always, please check with your local or state authorities to determine if they have any requirements on this subject.


Jun 01 2011

Dust mop chute

Category: Chutes,Questions and AnswersBKeyes @ 8:04 pm

Q: We have an existing 24-inch diameter chute throughout our building that is designed for housekeepers to shake out the dry dust mops into the chute. A ventilation fan takes the dust into a collection bin. The issue with this system is the 24-inch chute is not enclosed with a fire-rated enclosure, and we were told that this chute needs to have an enclosure. What do you say?

A: All vertical openings through a fire-rated floor assembly are required to be protected in accordance with Section 8.2.5 of NFPA 101, Life Safety Code® (LSC), 2000 edition. This pneumatic rubbish chute is no different than any other chute, such as a linen or trash chute, and requires a fire-rated enclosure that extends from the floor to the deck above on each story. Even if the sheet metal duct is sealed tightly around the floor or deck, the thickness of the sheet metal does not have an appropriate fire resistance rating to meet the requirements of section 8.2.5. Since you do not have any fire-rated enclosure now, any enclosure that you add will need to meet new construction requirements. If the vertical enclosure extends to four or more stories, then the enclosure would have to be two-hour fire rated. Otherwise you need to make the enclosure at least one-hour fire rated. Section 19.5.4 of the LSC has these additional requirements for existing rubbish chutes:
• If the chute opens directly onto a corridor, it must have a 1-hour fire-rated door assembly
• The chute must be protected with automatic sprinklers
• The chute collection room can serve no other purpose