Mac's Safety Space: The importance of advocacy in modern healthcare facilities management

By Steve MacArthur, Hospital Safety Consultant

What’s it all about…ASHE?

There is a common theme running through this week’s missive—the importance of participating in professional societies as a function of staying “current” in the healthcare facilities environment. And of the most critical aspects of that participation is making sure that your voice is heard when there are opportunities to influence future advocacy.

I’m guessing that a fair number of folks within the sound of my voice are members of the American Society of Healthcare Engineering (ASHE), which is part of the American Hospital Association and has done (and continues to do—more on that in a moment) a great deal of work over the years to advocate for the folks who actually manage the healthcare environment, providing expert support when it comes time to update regulatory codes and providing expert content to help manage the day-to-day challenges of the physical healthcare environment.

Over the past couple of months, ASHE  has announced a number of campaigns that will (hopefully—remember, much of this still rests in the hands of the authorities having jurisdiction) make compliance a somewhat simpler proposition—from the use of microgrids as part of power systems to working towards standardization of “competing” codes (for instance, the International Building Code versus the Life Safety Code and the effectiveness of lay-in ceilings to stop the passage of smoke).  And there just may be some light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to that single strand of Cat 5 cabling on top of a sprinkler pipe. You can find out more on those hot topics here: .

Another fun feature is helping folks to understand the nuances of some of the most (potentially) problematic processes: Managing Life Safety Code® (LSC) deficiencies during construction and  renovation projects or when LSC deficiencies cannot be immediately corrected (this part of the process is showing up pretty regularly in Joint Commission surveys—any LSC deficiency that can’t be corrected during the survey will be evaluated).

The folks at ASHE have come up with a nifty risk assessment tool to aid in that pursuit ( I think the tool makes it a lot easier to introduce the assessment process into those common garden-variety LSC deficiencies that may take some time to resolve, such as door and/or hardware replacement, etc. I think it is of critical importance for the Interim Life Safety Measures (ILSM) process to be hard-wired into your rounding/resolution processes. There is a whole range of risk levels to be determined and navigated—having a standard(ized) practice will help you stay one step ahead of an iffy survey finding.

Some other activities in the pipeline include a performance-based inspection process for fire extinguishers ( as well as improvements relating to the inspection of doors, GFCI protection for ice machines, and the management of spare circuit breakers ( ).

There’s lots going on and if you have the opportunity to weigh in—please do!

About the Author: Steve MacArthur is a safety consultant with Chartis Clinical Quality Solutions (formerly known as The Greeley Company) in Danvers, Mass. He brings more than 30 years of healthcare management and consulting experience to his work with hospitals, physician offices, and ambulatory care facilities across the country. He is the author of HCPro's Hospital Safety Director's Handbook and is contributing editor for Healthcare Safety Leader. Contact Steve at

Found in Categories: 
ASHE, Environment and Facilities