In 2012, The NFPA Gives Safety A Facelift

January 25, 2012


“Better safe than sorry,” should be the motto of every facility manager or safety officer. Safety regulations shift every year, bringing more relevant, efficient and useful practices and facility standards to the industry. Although it may prove difficult to spot every new regulation the moment it’s published, some majorly revised safety mandates warrant a careful rexamination and accompanying institutional compliance review.

One of the key players in facility management safety regulations, the National Fire Protection Association’s  (NFPA) Standards Council, met this past August to review and approve the newest, 2012 editions of the NFPA 99: Health Care Facilities Code and NFPA 101: Life Safety Code®.

So, what’s new in big safety news? As it would seem, a whole lot:

  • New clarifications outline the specific scope of safety regulatory standards as they relate separately to both traditional health care facilities and home health care practices.
  • Operating rooms statuses have switched to that of “wet locations” unless otherwise defined by an investigative risk assessment.
  • New information has been developed concerning emergency management, health care security, power systems and humidity requirements within a health care organization.
  • The responsibility of periodic medical gas inlet and outlet testing now falls within the jurisdiction of the organization itself.
  • The size of sleeping room suites has now increased and additional new suite standards further amend entrance, exit, hallway, fireplace and room limitations and features.
  • New provisions for nursing facilities provide for newer, safer amenities that will facilitate a more home-like environment for residents.

Several more new safety standards and amendments will be enacted in 2012, due to the updated versions of NFPA 99 and 101.

The NFPA states that the latest version of its NFPA 99: Health Care Facilities Code, in particular, makes a “groundbreaking” shift from an occupancy-based safety approach to a more risk-based approach. Now safety standards will focus more on the risk that given procedures pose to patients and staff, than the location in which the procedure takes place.

This shift could mean big things for how your healthcare facility operates, not only in emergency situations, but also on the day-to-day. Compare your facilities standards against those of the new 2012 regulations. Will you need to streamline and improve your operations? Research the standards amendments completely to make sure your facility doesn’t get left behind.

For more details, a customized facility safety analysis or compliance advice on NFPA 99 and 101, contact Vanguard Resources.