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Q: Would a sterile processing room be considered a hazardous area? There are not a lot of combustible supplies and the only flammable liquid is ethyl alcohol. There is glutaraldehyde which presents a health hazard. I’m not sure what type of protection the room would require.
A: Typically, hazardous areas in healthcare are identified by the number of combustible items stored in a given room or area. But according to section 126.96.36.199 of the 2012 LSC, a hazardous area is any area that poses a degree of hazard greater than that normal to the general occupancy of the building. So, technically, a room where glutaraldehyde (or other hazardous chemicals) is used could be considered a hazardous room. But that’s going to be a judgment call and not all surveyors will think alike on this subject.
My advice is to be very conservative and consider the room to be a hazardous room as long as you’re using hazardous chemicals. This would likely require the room to be built to 1-hour fire-rated construction, with ¾ hour fire rated doors that self-close and positively latch, and the room will need to be sprinklered.