Dec 01 2011

Solid Bottom Shelves

Category: Questions and Answers,ShelvesBKeyes @ 9:28 pm

Q: Are we required to have solid bottom shelves in all areas where we have items stored, including on carts? Does this requirement extend to all stored items?

A: It depends on what is being stored and which authority having jurisdiction (AHJ) is looking at the issue. The LSC does not address this issue so it is not a life safety concern. It does appear to me to be an infection control issue, though. As far as I know, the accrediting agencies (Joint Commission, DNV, HFAP) do not have standards that speak directly to this issue, but that is not the end of this discussion. There are infection control standards that require the hospital to identify risks in the environment that might transmit infections. Some items such as food and sterilized goods can become contaminated if they are stored on the lower shelf that does not have a solid bottom, mostly due to moisture that could be absorbed from the floor or mops. This is commonly a local or state department of public health requirement, to have solid bottom shelves for food items and/or clean or sterilized supplies. However, any of the accrediting agencies could cite a hospital under their infection control standards if this risk to infection is not identified and mitigated. My advice is for you to contact your local and state departments of public health and ask them what their requirements are.