Cushions on the Floor
by Katrina Reed, on Mar 29, 2021 1:00:00 AM
Q: I have a hospital client that wants to use cushions placed on the floor to reduce the risk of injury from patients falling out of bed. There is no accommodation in the patient rooms for storing these cushions when not in use, and the client wants to hang them on the wall in the corridor, behind the door. The patient room doors open out into an alcove. The hospital is fully sprinklered. Is the argument that this is furniture and can be placed in the corridor, even though it’s being hung on a wall, acceptable from a code standpoint?
A: Not in my opinion, but rarely does my opinion count. This is truly an authority having jurisdiction (AHJ) opinion. Is it furniture? Or is it interior finish? And does it project more than 4 inches into the corridor?
I would lean towards the combustibility issue of the cushions adding to the fuel load in the egress corridor, which is not permitted. I do not like this arrangement and if I were the AHJ, I would not permit it. What does the state agency say about it? As one of the many AHJs, the state has the right and responsibility to decide if this is compliant with the LSC.
On another issue, I don’t like the cushions placed on the floor for fall prevention, as that is a violation of 22.214.171.124 in the 2012 LSC for abrupt changes in elevation of the walking surface greater than ¼-inch. If I were the surveyor, I would cite the cushion if I observed them on the floor.
What would be wrong with raising the side rails on a hospital bed to keep people from falling out of bed? That’s what they are designed for.