Sample Questions and Responses

Every day, the E&STM Consultation Service fields technical inquiries from subscribers on a wide range of loss-control subjects. Here are just a few samples to show the kinds of questions E&S receives and the depth and detail of the responses E&S provides.

Defibrillator Use

Customer Question:
An increasing number of public operations are purchasing defibrillators for use in country clubs, malls, or other public places. A local paper cites a mall that has purchased this device and has provided training in its use to the mall employees. This is an area of liability/operational standards that I would like to obtain information on. Can you assist or direct as it relates to the insured's exposures, standards of operations, and related safeguards? I understand that the American Red Cross provides training on the device, but I am looking for a more insightful look at this issue.

E&S Response:
There are a couple of different liability issues. In terms of liability for improper use, a recent law — PL 106-505 — provides liability protection to good Samaritans using automated external defibrillators (AEDs), provided they are trained in the use of the device. Acquirers of AEDs, such as employers, are protected from liability as well, so long as the harm is not caused by the acquirer's failure to inform emergency responders of the location of the device, maintain and test the device, and provide appropriate training to employees reasonably expected to use the device.

Before the law, there was a patchwork of state immunity statutes. I wrote a News Report on the subject in December. You can get it from our E&S on ISOnet® website. Just search for AED. You can get the text of the law and legislative history through the Library of Congress website. There were hearings on the issue as well. I summarized them in a News Report, but you can get the transcripts from the House Commerce Committee archive website at http://www.house.gov/. Look under May 2000.

The Red Cross CPR course now includes AED use. I'm scheduled to take it next month out of personal interest. Information on their program is available at http://www.redcross.org/. They also have links to the major AED providers and a chart of AED state legislation. You'll find other training providers at http://www.healthcare.agilent.com/.

In terms of creating an increased standard of care at public places, the National Law Journal last month listed failure to provide or use AEDs as one of their "top 10" emerging causes of action. There's a News Report on that as well. It covered a handful of cases that tried to hold a public place negligent for failing to provide an AED. Not sure how much of this is posturing, I was doing some work on health clubs last month, and the only reported case that I could find was a New York case that found that a health club that dialed 911 immediately and provided assistance until the paramedics arrived was not negligent for failing to have an AED.

Finally, I know the information is biased, but you might want to call one of the AED manufacturers. Tell them you work in insurance and that you're interested in finding out more so that you can advise your clients. They'll trip over themselves because they want a sale. They track the liability aspects more closely than I do. They'll also be able to discuss training requirements for their individual products.

Using Galvanized Thin-wall Sprinkler Pipe

Customer Question:
We want to expand our automatic sprinkler criteria to allow the use of galvanized thin-wall pipe in dry systems in accordance with the conditions set by the Fibrous Materials Research Center (FMRC). Those conditions are:

  1. not in corrosive atmospheres (e.g., dry kilns, veneer driers)
  2. not in locations with known corrosive water supplies
  3. not in areas with ambient temperatures above 130 degrees Fahrenheit

I received feedback from the FMRC stating we should not make this expansion because, in certain areas, roof level temperatures can well exceed 130 degrees during the summer months even though the area is not normally recognized as having high ambient temperatures. My question is: in the literature, where ambient temperature is addressed, is this "seasonal" temperature elevation included?

E&S Response:
Ambient temperature is just the temperature in the area where the pipe is located. The specific technical justification for the FM temperature restriction is that galvanized pipe corrodes quickly at temperatures above 130 degrees, with the material's peak corrosion rate occurring at temperatures only 20 degrees warmer. Given this justification and that the pipe you cite will also be thin walled, I suggest that you strictly follow the FMRC guidelines. If the temperature in the area that the pipe is used will be expected to exceed 130 degrees for any significant period of time (when there is no fire), then I would not recommend the use of the galvanized thin-wall pipe.

Here's the complete text of the FM recommendation from FM Data Sheet 2-8N (revised 5/99).

"Galvanized piping (including the inside of the pipe) should be used in all new dry-pipe and preaction systems where the ambient temperature does not exceed 130°F (54°C). When the ambient temperature exceeds 130°F (54°C), such as in lumber drying kilns, black steel pipe should be used. At ambient temperatures above 130°F (54°C), the corrosion of zinc is greatly accelerated. Peak corrosion rate occurs at about 150°F (66°C). Black steel pipe provides better corrosion resistance at high ambient temperatures."

Handling Freon™

Customer Question:
Can you provide me with the EPA guidelines on manufacturing air conditioning units and safety information on handling and servicing products with R22 Freon?

E&S Response:
We found several websites with information pertaining to your question. Below are the links that we feel best answer your question.

Here's a link to a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) from Lydall Industrial Thermal Solutions, Inc.:
http://www.affinitychillers.com/R22.htm

Here's the Dupont MSDS for R-22:
http://www.dupont.com
Dupont has other technical and safety information at:
http://www.dupont.com/suva/na/usa/literature/index.html

There is also an ANSI/ASHRAE Standard that provides an overview of the hazards and safety information (ANSI/ASHRAE 34); however, it is not online. The EPA requirements are complex, so I suggest that you take a look at the EPA fact sheet on the servicing requirements: http://www.epa.gov/

You can also call the EPA Stratospheric Ozone Protection Hotline,
1-800-296-1996, with more specific questions.

Be aware that R-22 is scheduled for phase-out in 2010. After 1/1/2010, you'll need to use recycled R-22 on your equipment or have the equipment retrofitted.

Standards for Hanging Garments

Customer Question:
Does NFPA have any information about hanging garments?

E&S Response:
We could find no NFPA standards that specifically provide protection criteria for hanging garments. Table 9-18F from the NFPA Fire Prevention Handbook, 18th Ed., provides the following criteria for protecting hanging garments stored 15 ft. (4.6 m.) high.

Sprinkler system density: 0.60 gpm/sq. ft., 3000 area ft.
Temp. rating of head: 165 degrees Fahrenheit
Additional gpm for hose streams: 250 gpm
Duration of flow: 1 hour
Avoid dry-pipe systems
Additional remarks: Max. 3 feet below sprinklers.

Those criteria come from an undated Factory Mutual standard on hanging garments, FM 8-18. It appears that the storage scenario is horizontal stationary pipe racks and not carousels, though the table does not clarify that.

The 2000 edition of FM 8-18 provides additional and more complete requirements. The FM standard provides protection criteria for sprinkler heads rated 212 and 286 degrees; pre-action systems; carousels; and different ceiling heights. For stationary pipe racks, it recommends a design garment width of 4 feet and minimum of 3 feet spacing between racks.

IRI has also published a data sheet on hanging garments, IM.10.2.5. It covers both stationary racks and carousels. The design basis for their protection of stationary racks is 12 feet. They recommend the use of 165-degree sprinklers. IRI loss discussion indicates that garments are highly susceptible to smoke, soot, and water damage and recommends using smoke partitions to limit exposure.

  • If the false ceiling is partial, it should extend at least 8 ft. (2.4 m) beyond any storage. Install sprinklers below it, including a row of sprinklers 2 to 3 ft. (0.6 to 1 m) inside the edge (on the hanging garment storage side) of the partial ceiling.
  • On stationary pipe racks, limit garment width to 48 in. (1.2 m), and maintain aisles of no less than 3 ft. (0.9 m) between racks.
  • In vertical carousels or similar vertical movable modules, sprinkler protection recommendations are based on storage to 25 ft. (7.6 m) high.

What's your question?

If you're an E&S subscriber, you can get consultations like these — at no additional charge — on any loss-control topic. Just visit the E&S on ISOnet website and follow the link for E&S Consultations.

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