Q: In regards to oxygen cylinder storage on the nursing units, is there a code or standard that restricts the distance between a storage rack of 6 E size cylinders and nearby electrical outlet receptacles?
A: No, there is not an NFPA code or standard that addresses how close a storage rack of oxygen cylinders may be stored to an electrical switch or outlet receptacle, for spaces that have less than 3,000 cubic feet of compressed medical gases, which is typical for a nursing unit. However, NFPA 99 (2012 edition) does require ignition sources (i.e. electrical switches, outlets, receptacles, thermostats, etc.) to be mounted 60 inches above the floor in rooms designated for the storage of 3,000 cubic feet or more of compressed medical gases. The 2012 edition of NFPA 99 also allows for the protection of the electrical ignition sources (e.g. wire cages) in lieu of relocating them 60 inches above the floor. That is to prevent the taller ‘H’ size cylinders from damaging the electrical devices and causing an electrical short.