Cardboard Boxes Stored on the Floor

Q: Is there a specific code reference in regards to storage of boxes on the floor? I am trying to locate any specific code language for preventing the use of the floor for direct storage of boxed items.

A: I am not aware of any NFPA code or standard that is referenced by the Life Safety Code that would prevent cardboard boxes from being stored on the floor. However, the hospital (or healthcare organization) should have Infection Control guidelines on this issue. Whenever I see this situation in the field it is always referred to the IC practitioner for their decision.

There are two main issues at work whenever cardboard is setting on the floor:

  1. Moisture on the floor could cause rot, mold, and other growth in the cardboard.
  2. Shipping cardboard boxes could contain insect and even vermin which could spread to other areas of the facility.

Please check with your accreditation organization and your state and local health departments to see if they have any regulations preventing cardboard boxes from being stored on the floor.