Benefits can include:
- Tracking employee time and attendance
- Monitoring who gains and is denied access at what dates and times
- Deleting dismissed employees before actual dismissal
- Eliminating the need to obtain issued keys from job changed or terminated employees
- Limiting access for non-authorized employees
- Restricting access to HIPAA information to specified individuals
- Auditing access of scheduled narcotics containers and refrigerators
When a hospital does remodeling or new construction, the OSHPOD must be consulted prior to making any changes. This includes what is called a “lipstick job,” making changes that do not require a permit. Contacting the agencies and organizations early on, pre-empts problems. It stops questions from being raised once the hardware has been installed onto the door.
Two of the hospitals I walked for this article are equipped with cross-corridor openings having either closed doors or doors magnetically held open that release on activation of the fire alarm system. Depending upon the location, some of the magnetically held open cross corridor doors are pocketed. This additional clear space provides a larger opening. Exit device manufacturers are working with door manufacturers to provide a recessed exit device to increase the opening.
The purpose of cross corridor fire rated openings is to control the spread of smoke and/or fire and create safety zones with exit information to keep patients and staff safe in the event of an emergency.
In many instances, the cross corridor doors that are not magnetically held open are equipped with automatic door openers that provide access and egress, eliminating the need for physical contact with the doors.
The Locksmith’s Role
Depending upon their employment description, hospital locksmiths can change combinations, replace doors, door closers, exit devices and related door hardware. Maintaining accurate records can simplify the job. One hospital inscribes a blind key code onto each lock cylinder or lock body before installation. This makes it much easier to confirm an existing key code when servicing, replacing the lock or changing the combination. The first part of the key code can be a reference to the building, area or services.
Most buildings managed by locksmiths have some form of key control. It does not matter if it is hospital, university, manufacturing facility or school; key control determines the level of safety and security. Of late, there is an increased interest in the number of keys that have and have not been returned by terminated, transferred or departing employees. Keys that are unaccounted for are a liability and there are questions being asked within California as well as several other states as to how many keys are not accounted for and what doors to which they provide access.
These records cover during construction, remodeling as well as day-to-day operation. Each hospital determines if and when there is a sufficient number of missing keys that must be met before lock’s combination is changed.
In a hospital, everything must be properly documented and available for review. Documentation should include dates of construction of the buildings and any additions/remodels. There should be up-to-date floor plans, prominently showing all fire barriers. If it is not properly documented, it did not happen.
For more information, visit the following web sites.