What are you doing for life safety

What? You are housekeeping, not plant operations! Why should you care about life safety you ask?

For 2011, all hospitals, including critical access hospitals, will have a life safety surveyor for at least two days of a Joint Commission survey. Those hospitals with more than 1.5 million square feet will have a third day. Yet an additional day will be added for every three buildings classified as health care occupancy. This is considerably more than we are used to and it is not enough to be focused on cleaning. We in environmental services are the only department in a hospital to service every patient room daily, and all other areas at least periodically. We are the eyes for every facility service department.

So what are the areas we should be looking at during our daily cleaning and rounding.

  1. Penetrations: Holes in walls, ceiling tiles, and around fire sprinklers. These tend to happen and often get overlooked. Make a point of looking around and putting work orders in.
  2. Doors: The majority of fire, smoke and corridor doors will be checked. Make sure they positively latch. My staff close each patient door on a regular basis and makes sure they latch. We tell the patients that we are checking the door for proper operation for their safety. It is appreciated. This is a good time to check the hardware and look for missing screws. Yes, missing screws in the hinge have been found on many survey’s.
  3. Look up: Sure holes in ceiling tiles are important to correct, and so are stained or broken tiles. Get those reported and changed. Also ceiling grilles and diffusers are being checked for dust accumulation. Same goes for fire sprinklers. Dust and dust bunnies are just not appreciated anymore.
  4. Corridor Clutter: Recent inspectors are coming down hard on hospital clutter. The only items allowed to keep in corridors are code and isolation carts and equipment in use, E.G. not stationary for more than 30 minutes. Other than those you need to maintain either the 4’ or 8’ clear corridor width.

There certainly can be more things our staff can find that need to be corrected. If you are not already on board start with one area and build on it.

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