The 2021 edition of NFPA 99, Health Care Facilities Code, is currently under development. The technical committees that write the document have created a first draft. More than 200 revisions were made to the code, and the following are among the most noteworthy:
- Risk assessments. A change has been made that attempts to clarify that risk assessments to determine risk categories are required to be performed only for new or altered systems and equipment.
- Electrical preventative maintenance program. A new detailed section for electrical systems has been added that provides specific criteria and intervals for inspection, testing and maintenance activities on equipment and distribution system components.
- Responsible facility authority. A requirement for each facility to designate a “responsible facility authority” for medical gas and vacuum systems has been added. This will likely be the individual currently responsible for the systems; the addition also specifies the need for that individual to be “qualified.” The proposed update spells out a number of responsibilities this authority would have.
- Microgrids. A placeholder section has been added for this area to be built out to include performance criteria that would allow microgrids and their various sources to be utilized as part of a health facility’s essential electrical system.
- Relocatable power taps (RPTs). A change that was proposed, but did not pass the formal vote of the committee, included code language that better links requirements with the listing criteria for different types of RPTs.
- Flammables in operating room. Requirements that solution-soaked materials be removed from the operating room prior to surgery have been revised to reflect removal of the materials from the patient care vicinity.
The public comment phase for NFPA 99 is open until May 8. Comments can be made at www.nfpa.org/99next by selecting the “Submit a Public Comment” link, which will pull up a clean version of the first draft. Any section of the code can then be chosen for comment, and you will be prompted to provide input.