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2010 Advisories and Alerts

ASHRAE Seeks Comments from Designers and Facility Managers on Proposed New Standard (October 7, 2010)

ASHRAE has made draft Standard 188: Prevention of Legionellosis Associated with Building Water Systems available for public comment. The purpose of the proposed document is summarized in explanatory information published with the draft:

The aim of this standard is to assist those involved in building design and facility management in preventing the disease legionellosis, which is caused by infection with the bacterium Legionella. . . .

This standard facilitates the prevention of legionellosis by identifying the points in a building's water system which . . . can make conditions less favorable to the amplification and transmission of Legionella through proven system design, operational practices and maintenance practices. . . . Engineers, architects, and system designers also can use this standard to determine if their building water system design and engineering practices are in need of review or revision. . . .

ASHE members are encouraged to review the proposed document and make comments. To access the draft and the site for submitting comments, visit https://osr.ashrae.org/default.aspx. The closing date for comments is November 15.

For more detailed information, read the full ASHE alert Members OnlyAdobe PDF.

Low End of Relative Humidity Levels in Short-Term Patient Care Areas is Reduced (August 27, 2010)

In ANSI/ASHRAE/ASHE Standard 170-2008: Ventilation of Health Care Facilities, the lower limit of the relative humidity (RH) design specification for HVAC systems that supply short-term patient treatment spaces (including operating rooms) has been reduced. Formerly, the lower end of the RH scale was 30 percent. Following approval of Addendum "d" to ASHRAE 170, the lower end of the scale is now 20 percent RH. Because Standard 170 was incorporated into the 2010 edition of the Guidelines for Design and Construction of Health Care Facilities, the new acceptable RH range is now part of the 2010 Guidelines document as well.

For full text explaining this change, please read ASHRAE 170 Addendum "d." Members OnlyAdobe PDF

How to Make Comments on NFPA 99 (August 25, 2010)

At ASHE, we are diligently working to review the NFPA Report on Proposals (ROP) to make changes to the revised draft of NFPA 99: Health Care Facilities. Our goal is to bring issues of concern to your attention, so that you—the users of the document—can make your voices heard.

This ASHE Advocacy Alert contains the following:

  • A list of more issues you may want to comment on
  • Tips for writing comments that will receive the full attention of the NFPA committee

Please read the full alert Members OnlyAdobe PDF for details.

15 Days Left to Comment on NFPA 99: Health Care Facilities (August 18, 2010)

A completely revised version of NFPA 99 is open for public comment until September 3, 2010. ASHE members are encouraged to review the revisions and submit comments before the deadline. For a description of three issues of concern and for information about how to submit comments, please read the complete alert Members OnlyAdobe PDF.

15 Days Left to Comment on NFPA 101: Life Safety Code (August 18, 2010)

Proposed revisions to NFPA 101 are currently available for comment. We encourage you to review the document and submit comments before the deadline of September 3, 2010. To access the revisions, download the Report on Proposals from www.nfpa.org/Assets/files/AboutTheCodes/101/101-A2011-ROP.pdf Adobe PDF. To submit a comment, access the online comment database at submissions.nfpa.org/onlinesub/onsubmain.php.

Use of Amateur Radio Operations Permitted for Hospital Emergency Preparedness Drills

On July 14, 2010, the FCC issued a Report and Order that states, "we amend the Commission’s amateur radio service rules . . . to permit amateur radio operators to transmit messages, under certain limited circumstances, during either government-sponsored or non-government sponsored emergency and disaster preparedness drills, regardless of whether the operators are employees of entities participating in the drill." Later in the document, this further explanation appears, "We find that extending authority to operate amateur stations during such drills will enhance emergency preparedness and response and thus serve the public interest."

National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Area Sources: Industrial, Commercial, and Institutional Boilers (EPA Proposed Rule)(August 10, 2010)

On June 4, 2010, the EPA published a proposed rule Adobe PDF in the Federal Register that will affect certain hospitals with new or existing coal-, biomass-, and oil-fired boilers. (Natural gas boilers are exempt.) This rule applies to hospitals operating a boiler with capacity greater than 10 million BTUs per hour or approximately a 300-HP boiler. The purpose of the rule is to ensure that facilities meet the Clean Air Act limit for emission of toxic materials such as mercury, arsenic, cadmium, lead, etc. The EPA is under court order to publish the final rule by December 16, 2010.

The final closing date for comments on the proposed rule has been extended to August 23, 2010. Instructions for submitting comments via the Web and using e-mail, among other methods, can be found in the introduction to the proposed rule in the Federal Register (link above).

For a list of the subjects for which the EPA is seeking comments and a series of questions and answers developed specifically for ASHE members, read the full ASHE Advocacy Alert Members OnlyAdobe PDF.

Questions? Contact John Collins at 312-422-3805 or jcollins@aha.org.

Less Than 30 Days to Comment on NFPA 99: Health Care Facilities and NFPA 101: Life Safety Code (August 5, 2010)

We need your participation in the review and submission of comments on the completely revised NFPA 99: Health Care Facilities and on the updated NFPA 101: Life Safety Code. Comments must be submitted to NFPA before September 3, 2010.

More ... Members OnlyAdobe PDF

Comment Period Open for CDC Guidance on Influenza Prevention Strategies (June 25, 2010)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) seeks comments on proposed new guidance that will update and replace previous seasonal influenza guidance and the CDC document Interim Guidance on Infection Control Measures for 2009 H1N1 Influenza in Healthcare Settings. According to the notice in the Federal Register, “The updated guidance emphasizes a prevention strategy to be applied across the entire spectrum of health care settings, including hospitals, nursing homes, physicians’ offices, urgent-care centers, and home health care, but is not intended to apply to settings whose primary purpose is not health care.”

The deadline for submitting comments on the proposed new guidance Adobe PDF, which includes information on environmental infection controls and engineering controls, is July 22, 2010.

OSHA Seeks Comments on Measures for Protecting Employees from Infectious Disease (June 25, 2010)

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is seeking information on workplace exposures to infectious diseases in health care settings and the steps that employers are taking to reduce such exposures. Collection of this information will help the agency determine whether regulatory action is warranted or whether it should instead take other steps, such as providing additional guidance or compliance assistance; take no further action; or enhance enforcement activities, such as is done now for TB using the General Duty Clause and Respiratory Protection standards.

The Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) is asking its members to share with OSHA the steps they take every day to protect employees against infectious disease. APIC has prepared talking points Adobe PDF to help facilities form their responses.

The deadline for comments in response to OSHA’s request for information Adobe PDF (RFI) is August 4, 2010.

Survey on the Use of the Hospital Incident Command System (HICS) (January 11, 2010)

ASHE requests your assistance in providing information about the use of HICS. A survey is being conducted by the Center for HICS Education and Training, which maintains and updates HICS. Your response will help ensure that HICS continues to meet your needs. If you are responsible for emergency management or are involved in the use of HICS, please consider taking a few moments to respond to this survey or forward this message to the appropriate individual.

ASHE served as an ex officio member of the group that developed HICS, and serves on the Advisory Board for the Center for HICS Education and Training. Click the link to read a letter Adobe PDF from the Center requesting your response to the survey.

For further assistance, please contact:
Tim Adams, FASHE, CHFM
ASHE Director of Professional Development
tadams@aha.org
312-422-3804