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  • Writer's pictureTom Petersen

The Wizard Answers ALL!

The Wizard of EES has been busy this summer with many questions in all types of situations. Remember, The Wizard is a free service and is ready to answer ANY Questions as you will read below.


Question #1: Is it within code requirements to install a drop ceiling in a morgue instead of a hard ceiling?


The Wizard’s Answer: I checked the EES Library for the applicable building and fire codes in the 2003 International Codes from the International Code Council and found that there is no mention of any requirements for ceiling construction in morgues. You may want to consider checking with your local Fire Marshall to ensure that the drop ceiling is acceptable.


I also checked the 2006 version of the Guidelines for the Design and Construction of Health Care Facilities published by the American Institute of Architects. Their section on morgues reads as follows (again, no mention of ceiling construction):


These facilities shall be accessible through an exterior entrance and shall be located to avoid the need for transporting bodies through public areas.


If autopsies are performed in the hospital, the following elements shall be provided:

  • Refrigerated facilities for body holding. Body holding refrigerators shall be equipped with temperature monitoring and alarm signals.

An autopsy room. This shall contain the following:

  1. A work counter with a hand-washing station

  2. A storage space for supplies, equipment, and specimens

  3. An autopsy table

  4. A deep sink for washing specimens

Housekeeping facilities. A housekeeping service sing or receptor shall be provided for cleanup and housekeeping.


Body-holding room. If autopsies are performed outside the facility, a well-ventilated, temperature- controlled body-holding room shall be provided.


Question #2: I own a small business located next to a nail salon, I have been complaining to the landlord for the last 3 years that the smell is horrendous, the nail salon is not venting their shop properly, and now I am experiencing some adverse heath reactions from the constant chemical exposure, should I have the air quality in my shop tested?


The Wizard’s Answer: You may want to consider the following actions:

  1. Send a letter to the owner of the nail salon by certified mail that states that unless they correct the problem immediately through proper ventilation, you plan to contact the state environmental regulatory agency (I am not sure where you are located) and make a formal odor complaint and that you plan to contact the building code enforcement agency and ask that they review whether the nail salon is meeting the building code with respect to ventilation of hazardous vapors.

  2. If you do not a satisfactory response from the owner, you should contact both of those agencies. The state (or city) environmental agency may take their own air samples and require that the salon owner correct the problem.

  3. If you still would like to take your own air samples, you should sample for ethyl acetate, n-Butyl acetate, toluene, and camphor. Let me know if you need further assistance with obtaining and analyzing the air samples.

Number 43 part 3


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