The American Society for Healthcare Engineering (ASHE) is interested in experiences of health facilities professionals with monthly exit-sign inspections, a requirement based on code, which was not routinely enforced as it is now in the health care arena. The requirement for a monthly inspection of exit signs comes from the National Fire Protection Association’s NFPA 101-2012: 7.10.9 and, although this requirement was also in previous editions of the code (including the 2000 edition), it typically was not enforced as it is now by authorities having jurisdiction.

Also, because this code reference indicates that there is an alternative to the monthly inspection if the sign is equipped with a computer-based, self-test/diagnostic program (which is specifically for battery exit signs with rechargeable batteries), there has been an argument that regular monthly inspections do not apply to regular exit signs wired to the life-safety branch of emergency power.

However, the Joint Commission has written this inspection into EC.02.05.07 EP1, requiring each individual sign to be documented (exception reporting cannot be used).

Hospitals are staffed 24/7 and typically orient new employees by telling them to call maintenance staff when they see lights and exit signs that are not working. Also, many hospitals have maintenance personnel who make routine checks to ensure that exit signs are working while at the same time converting to the use of light-emitting diode (LED) lamps to increase lamp life and decrease energy use.

ASHE is conducting a brief member survey about the monthly exit-sign inspection experiences of health facilities professionals over the past year. This information may be used to support the organization’s advocacy efforts around testing-frequency requirements.

This survey will ask questions related to:

  • The number of LED and non-LED exit signs;
  • Total number of LED and non-LED exit-sign inspections over the past 12-months (the number in the first bullet point times 12 unless exit signs were added or deleted over the 12-month period);
  • Number of failures of LED and non-LED exit signs over the 12 months;
  • Total number of staff hours expended over the 12 months and hourly pay rate or annual contract cost for inspections;
  • Whether the facility uses a zone- or area-maintenance or building maintenance program to check exit signs.

To participate in this survey, health care facilities professionals should log on to