Nov 04 2013

Multiple Trash Containers

Q: We just completed a renovation of our cafeteria dining area and as part of the project an 8 container trash cabinet was built and installed in a separated area off of the dining floor. It is sprinklered and the containers are all 32 gallons. The cafeteria area is a separate smoke compartment. Is this allowed?”

A: Well, this is an interesting question. The answer is… it depends on the square footage of the trash cabinet and how it is constructed. I would say each individual 32 gallon trash container would have to be physically separated from all the others by a cabinet wall, which would create a small, individual room or area for the container. The reason for this is section 18.7.5.5 of the 2000 edition of the LSC, which only allows up to 32 gallons of trash collection capacity in a given 64 square foot area. This means, if there are no physical separations between trash containers then I could see a surveyor or inspector citing you for having more than 32 gallons capacity in a given 64 square foot area. Since each individual compartment for the trash containers would presumably be less than 50 square feet in size, then you would not have any problems meeting the requirements of 18.3.2.1 for hazardous areas. It is interesting to note that the exception to 18.7.5.5 does allow more than 32 gallons capacity in a 64 square foot area provided the area qualifies as a hazardous area, but it is unlikely that an 8 container trash cabinet could do so. The key element in your question is the comment that the individual trash containers do not exceed 32 gallons each.


Nov 12 2012

Document Shredding Containers

Q: During a recent survey, the surveyor noted that we had two 64 gallon capacity containers which we use for document shredding, sitting side-by-side in the laboratory work room. He stated we couldn’t have them in the room because they exceeded 32 gallons capacity. I was under the impression that if it was in a secured area and in a room with positive latching and sprinkled it was OK. How far off am I? What about other areas, such as medical records?

A: Section 19.7.5.5 of the 2000 edition of the LSC says trash containers greater than 32 gallons must be stored in a hazardous room. Most authorities will consider document shredding containers to be equal to trash containers. Also, section 19.3.2.1 says all laboratories that employ flammable liquids in quantities less than what would be considered severe are considered hazardous areas. So, your laboratory is already considered to be a hazardous area, and should be protected accordingly. If it is new construction (plans for construction approved by local authorities on or after March 11, 2003) it would be required to be fully protected with automatic sprinklers and be protected with 1-hour fire rated barriers. If it is existing conditions (plans for construction approved by local authorities before March 11, 2003) then it needs to be protected with automatic sprinklers or with 1-hour fire rated barriers. You are allowed to have as many 64-gallon document shredding containers in the laboratory as you would like, since the laboratory is already classified as a hazardous area. Unless there are other contributing factors, it appears to me that the surveyor is incorrect in this finding. The medical records area would have to qualify as a hazardous room in order to allow the 64 gallon containers in there. [Editor’s note: The 2012 edition of the LSC will exempt approved document shredding containers up to 96 gallons capacity from having to be stored in a hazardous room.]


Jan 01 2012

Recycling Containers

Category: Questions and Answers,Trash ReceptaclesBKeyes @ 9:35 pm
Share

Q: We have these big recycling containers mounted on wheels all over the hospital, which must have a capacity of 50 gallons each, at least. Does this container need to be placed in a “room protected as a hazardous area”?  The hospital is fully protected with sprinklers, by the way.

A:  Yes, it does. Section 19.7.5.5 of the 2000 edition of the LSC says: “Soiled linen or trash collection receptacles shall not exceed 32 gallons in capacity… Mobile soiled linen or trash collection receptacles with capacities greater than 32 gallons shall be located in a room protected as a hazardous area when not attended.” The Joint Commission and CMS both interpret recycling containers as “trash containers”. So, you will have to find a suitable home that qualifies as a hazardous area for those containers, or obtain containers that do not exceed 32 gallons in capacity.


Oct 01 2011

Fire Retardant Waste Containers

Category: Questions and Answers,Trash ReceptaclesBKeyes @ 8:57 pm
Share

Q: Are waste container required to be fire retardant in hospitals? What about long term care facilities?

A: No, they are not. At one time, the Life Safety Code®  (LSC) required all waste containers to be listed (approved) by an independent testing laboratory (UL, FM, etc.), but that requirement was dropped from the LSC a few editions ago. Therefore, there is no requirement that waste containers be listed by an independent testing laboratory for anywhere in a healthcare occupancy, including hospital, and long term care facilities.


Nov 01 2010

Trash Receptacles

Category: Questions and Answers,Trash ReceptaclesBKeyes @ 5:48 pm
Share

Q: In a business occupancy (physician medical office) can waste receptacles that are used for exam room waste paper be made of plastic, or do they have to be fire retardant? Is there a container size limitation, such as smaller than 32 gallons that needs to be adhered to?

A: Yes, they can be made of plastic. The section of the LSC that governs trash receptacles for healthcare occupancies is 19.7.5. If you carry that subsection over to the business occupancy chapter, you will find that there is no requirement for trash receptacles (39.7). Therefore, if there is no requirement, then non-fire rated plastic receptacles are OK. There are no limitations on container size, as there is in healthcare occupancy.