Q: If there are oxygen tanks stored on a unit that does not exceed the 12 tank threshold, does the door to the storage area where the tanks are stored need to have a sign indicating that tanks are stored within?
A: No. Rooms with less than 300 cubic feet of oxidizing gases (or about 12 E cylinders) does NOT have to have a sign warning of oxidizing gases stored within. However, the door to a storage room containing oxidizing gases in quantities of 300 cubic feet or more must have a precautionary sign, readable from a distance of 5 feet, and must be displayed on each door or gate of the storage room or enclosure. The sign must include the following wording as a minimum:
OXIDIZING GAS(ES) STORED WITHIN
This requirement is found in NFPA 99-2012, sections 18.104.22.168 and 22.214.171.124, and applies to all healthcare organizations, new and existing. On this particular section of NFPA 99, there is no exception in having this sign if the facility is posted as being a NO SMOKING facility. That applies to other sign requirements where oxygen therapy is in use on a patient, but that exception does not apply to a storage room containing oxidizing gases.
So, as you are conducting your routine building tour, please keep an eye out for the required signs on any door where oxidizing gases are stored in quantities of 300 cubic feet or more.
NOTE: January 23, 2019 update: Joint Commission is now interpreting section 126.96.36.199 to require the sign mentioned above, to be on the door of a storage room containing any amount of compressed gas, even if the amount is less than 300 cubic feet. As an AHJ, they have the right to make that interpretation.