Hazardous Cart in Corridor

Q: I recently heard that a hospital was cited for leaving a construction cart unattended in the hall and the surveyor inventoried the entire cart and cited the hospital for each hazardous item present. Can they do this and is there a life safety code addressing this issue?

A: Yes they can do this, as they are an authority having jurisdiction. They get to interpret the Life Safety Code as they see fit. While this finding may seem to be “ticky-tacky” to you, the bottom line is the surveyor has the right to ensure your facility is safe for patients, staff and visitors. If there is an unattended cart containing sharp objects, toxic chemicals, flammable gases, etc., in the corridor where it is available to unauthorized individuals, then that really is a legitimate safety issue. You ask if this is a Life Safety Code violation, and I would say it can be considered a LSC violation, based on section of the 2012 edition. Also, section 19.3.2 discusses hazardous areas, and technically speaking, an unattended cart containing these “hazardous items” is considered in storage, and therefore would have to meet the requirements of 19.3.2. All-in-all, it really is a legitimate finding, and the hospital needs to take action to prevent it from happening again in the future.