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Keyes Life Safety

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ABHR Dispenser Spacing

by Brad Keyes, CHSP, on Jul 17, 2020 1:00:15 AM

Q: My question is in regards to the spacing between alcohol-based hand-rub (ABHR) sanitizer dispensers when they are placed inside and outside patient rooms. In that situation, does the 4-foot rule apply? The sanitizers are not on the same horizontal plane. They are also separated by a door. It does not seem appropriate to place the 4-foot distance rule when the sanitizers are being measured from a corridor into a room. For example: Inside and outside a patient room. Please advise.

A: I see your point and understand your concern. Looking at section 19.3.2.6 (4), the 2012 Life Safety Code simply states: “Dispensers shall be separated from each other by horizontal spacing of not less than 48-inches.” One could make the point that as long as the door is closed to the room, the dispensers are separated from each other by the door and the wall that the door serves, and the 48-inch rule does not apply.

However, another could make the point that when the door is opened, the separation is no longer present, and the 48-inch clearance should be maintained. To be sure, the 2012 LSC and the official Handbook are silent on the subject. When the code is silent on an issue, it is up to the authorities having jurisdiction (AHJ) to decide how to interpret the LSC.

I contacted CMS officials in Baltimore and they provided an informal interpretation that says the distance around the door opening between ABHR dispensers must be maintained to be no less than 48-inches.

Topics:Alcohol Based Hand Rub Dispensers

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