Bulletin Boards in Corridors

Q: What are the limitations to bulletin boards that have paper tacked to them, in exit corridors in a hospital? Do they have to be behind glass doors?

A: No, the bulletin boards don’t have to be behind glass or plastic doors, but it couldn’t hurt. The problem is the 2000 edition of the Life Safety Code (LSC) is very quiet concerning the issue of bulletin boards in corridors, and surveyors and inspectors are left to use whatever standard they believe is applicable. Some surveyors use section of the 2006 edition of the LSC as a guide, which specifically addresses bulletin boards and says they should not exceed 20% of the aggregate total area of the wall where they are applied. But The Joint Commission and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have not adopted the 2006 edition, so that 20% rule is not enforceable. Another suggestion is to conduct an assessment for safety risk in regards to the bulletin boards that you do have. In the absence of written standards or codes on an issue, a risk assessment is always an acceptable solution to a perceived problem.

NOTE: Please refer to the October, 2010 posting for additional information on bulletin boards in the corridor.