As we move forward in 2023 safety is still at the top of everyone’s list as a focus point. A safety point that can easily slip past healthcare providers are doors. Doors in healthcare are a must and have many different uses. Fire Doors to seal corridors, Automatic Doors for easy access to areas.
Over the last 8 years fire doors have been at the top of everyone’s list for yearly inspections. As is known in the healthcare industry, doors are subject to abuse by the patients, visitors, and staff. However, in a Joint Commission update presented by Jim Kending, fire doors are still the #4 find of noncompliance in Life Safety. After years of focus by ASHE and the accrediting bodies, fire doors are still a top 10 find. It is important to keep yearly fire door inspections up to date.
Imperfections in the door and hardware can cause it to fail faster when needed the most. Maintaining fire doors can be costly if not maintained yearly. Some facilities have enacted quarterly inspections to catch the small things and continue to have yearly inspection by an IFDIA (International Fire Door Inspector Association) certified inspector that can complete the correct paperwork and data that is required by the AHJ (authority having jurisdiction).
For the first time years, Hazardous Room doors were a top 10 find by The Joint Commission coming in at number #8. In new construction, a room greater than 100 square feet, doors must be 3/4 hr fire rated, self-closing and have positive latching hardware. New construction rooms 50 square feet but not greater than 100 square feet must have doors that resist the passage of smoke, self-close and positively latch.
Existing storage rooms greater than 100 square feet doors must be 3/4 hr fire rated, self-closing and positive latching hardware. In existing storage rooms greater than 50 square feet, the doors must be 3/4 hr fire rated, self-closing and have positive latching hardware. However, if the space is sprinklered the door is permitted to be non-rated but has to resist the passage of smoke and it has to self-close. Note that storage rooms containing combustible supplies that are 50 square feet or less are not required to meet this definition of hazardous rooms.
Automatic doors are used throughout healthcare facilities large and small across the US. The type of automatic doors ranges from revolving, sliding and swinging. One of the least known safety standards is for automatic doors and the reason being there is no regulating body that enforces that safety standards be upheld. ANSI (American National Standards Institute) adopts standards that are produced by the AAADM (American Association of Automatic Door Manufacturers).
Typically, the ANSI/AAADM standards are not brought up unless the current service/installation provider brings it to the forefront. Each type of automatic door has its own type of safety standards that it must be met. ANSI/AAADM states that doors should be certified by an AAADM certified inspector on a yearly basis. An automatic door service provider that is AAADM certified should be having the safety conversations with their customers. The technology for safety in the last ten years has made doors safer than ever and each door should be safe for pedestrian use.
Hospital Associated Infections
One of the major risk factors with doors can be HAIs (Hospital Associated Infections). When you think about doors and HAIs you must realize that most doors are touched by many different people throughout the day, week, and month. During and after COVID-19 many facilities have opted to go the touchless route for doors. In the past, many facilities would have push bars or manual push plates for door use. Today the cleanest application has become wave plates. Wave plates can be used in swing door applications with automatic and ADA operators. Slide ICU doors are now optional to be automatic with plates as well. Wave plates and touchless activation have quickly become the cleanest application for automatic doors.
How to Stay Compliant
DH Pace technicians are AAADM certified and experienced in working with the healthcare industry. DH Pace Compliance Services can provide a full inspection of your fire and smoke doors. Contact your local DH Pace representative to review your options for touchless technology or to schedule an inspection of your doors.