The Medical Gas Code Updates Within NFPA 99 | Henderson Engineers

The Medical Gas Code Updates Within NFPA 99

Change is inevitable. In the healthcare and patient care industry, medical gas requirements have been subject to several changes in the latest NFPA 99 code cycle. 

According to the NFPA website, “NFPA 99 establishes criteria for levels of health care services or systems based on risk to the patients, staff, or visitors in health care facilities to minimize the hazards of fire, explosion, and electricity.”  

Every three years, this code’s revision cycle issues an updated version to adopt best practices and evolve with the industry. Since the 2012 edition of NFPA 99, there has been mention of the term “responsible facility authority,” commonly referred to as RFA. In these earlier versions of the NFPA text, the RFA is responsible for testing of the medical gas systems. These descriptions of the RFA role and individual skills have not previously been succinctly outlined. The 2021 NFPA now states that “the responsible facility authority role shall be the person or persons responsible for implementing NFPA 99 medical gas requirements within the facility.” 

Among the responsibilities the RFA could be involved in include:  

  • Advising on the assessment of the facility to determine risk categories of different spaces.  
  • Code interpretations.  
  • An emergency medical gas plan. 
  • Assessment and acceptance of medical gas audit reports. 

Permit-to-work system now requires documentation for the lifecycle of the system. The lifecycle of medical gas systems applies to new system installations, existing system extensions, systems undergoing maintenance, and remedies. 

New requirements for the Emergency Oxygen Supply Connection (EOSC) include master alarm contact points to track the temporary supply of oxygen during connection times. 

  • Following the installer performed tests, a system inspection is required prior to the final system verification (section 5.1.12.2).  

The 2021 NFPA 99 Annex A now includes decommissioning portions of the medical gas system in addition to installation requirements.  

Codes are constantly changing and evolving to support staff in giving the best patient care. Expertise and qualifications of facility team members in maintaining these critical systems remain of pinnacle importance to an effective management program.  

Henderson has more than 25 years of experience designing medical gas systems and two individuals on staff that are certified and can aid you with navigating these complex code changes:

Meagan Gibbs, PE, ASSE 6020 – meagan.gibbs@hendersonengineers.com

Dylan Shmalberg, PE, ASSE 6060 – dylan.shmalberg@hendersonengineers.com

Written By
DYLAN SHMALBERG

Plumbing Engineer

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