Items Parked in Corridors Outside Operating Rooms
by Brad Keyes, CHSP, on Oct 7, 2020 12:00:00 AM
Q: What is the rule on parking beds (gurneys) outside ORs in corridors?
A: In a hospital, the required width of the corridor must be 8 feet where an inpatient could possibly be located. Inpatients are often in operating rooms, so the exit-access corridors from operating rooms (or from the OR Suite, but not inside the OR Suite) must be 8 feet wide. Nothing may be left unattended in the corridor that would obstruct the required width (8 feet). Now, there are some exceptions, primarily section 126.96.36.199 (4) of the 2012 LSC, which does allow certain wheeled equipment to be left unattended in the corridor provided:
- The wheeled equipment does not reduce the clear unobstructed width of the corridor to less than 5 feet.
- The hospital fire safety plan and training program addresses the relocation of the wheeled equipment during a fire emergency.
- The wheeled equipment is limited to equipment in use; carts in use; medical emergency equipment not in use; patient lift equipment; patient transport equipment.
Wheelchairs and gurneys are definitely ‘patient transport equipment’ and sometimes hospital staff can make the argument that hospitals beds are ‘patient transport equipment’ if the patient was transported to the OR in the bed. But the most common oversight on this exception by hospitals is the failure to document this exception in the fire safety plan, explaining where the wheeled equipment will be relocated to during a fire emergency. And, they fail to provide staff training on the same.
I advise my clients to not utilize this option if at all possible, because staff will likely abuse this and will park anything and everything in the corridor. If the hospital chooses to use this exception in their facility, they will need to conduct daily inspections to ensure staff is complying with all of the requirements.