Locked Linen and Waste Chute Doors?

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 19.5.4.1 requires new chutes to comply with section 9.5 which requires compliance with NFPA 82. NFPA 82 (1999 edition), section 3-2.4.3.2 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.