Hand Sanitizer Guidelines for Schools

Amidst all of the hustle and bustle to return students and staff to in-person learning, it can be easy to overlook certain details. For instance, are you aware that hand sanitizer stations must follow certain building code guidelines?

Today, we’ll walk you through the International Fire Code’s guidelines for proper hand sanitizer station placement so you can return your students to in-person learning in the safest and healthiest environment possible.

Why Do Guidelines for Hand Sanitizer Stations Exist?

Establishing a culture of healthy hand hygiene has long been a focus for educational institutions starting at the youngest grade levels. But when washing with soap and warm water isn’t readily available, students and staff need some other way to stay on top of healthy hand hygiene, and are strongly urged to use hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol.

When installed correctly, hand sanitizer stations are not considered hazardous, but when installed incorrectly, can pose a threat as hazardous material. For this reason, alcohol based sanitizer placement guidelines are addressed by the International Code Council for buildings and fire codes.

Hand Sanitizer Station Guidelines for Schools

Chapter 5705.5 of the International Fire Code discusses the placement of alcohol-based hand rubs with the goal of limiting the extent to which potentially flammable sanitizer liquid can become a fire hazard. 

We encourage you to read the full list of International Fire Code hand sanitizer guidelines for schools and speak to your local building code enforcement department for any other pertinent guidelines you should be following, as local fire authorities have the final say for fire codes within your jurisdiction. Below is the main list of guidelines you should consider:

  1. The maximum capacity of each alcohol based hand sanitizer dispenser shall be 68 ounces (2 L).
  2. The minimum separation between dispensers shall be 48 inches (1219 mm).
  3. The dispensers shall not be installed above, below, or closer than 1 inch (25 mm) to an electrical receptacle, switch, appliance, device or other ignition source. The wall space between the dispenser and the floor or intervening counter top shall be free of electrical receptacles, switches, appliances, devices or other ignition sources.
  4. Dispensers shall be mounted so that the bottom of the dispenser is not less than 42 inches (1067 mm) and not more than 48 inches (1219 mm) above the finished floor.
  5. Dispensers shall not release their contents except when the dispenser is manually activated. Facilities shall be permitted to install and use automatically activated "touch free" alcohol-based hand-rub dispensing devices, testing each time a new refill is installed and ensure they operate with minimized chance of accidental or malicious activation, including:
    • Any activations of the dispenser shall only occur when an object is placed within 4 inches (98 mm) of the sensing device.
    • The dispenser shall not dispense more than the amount required for hand hygiene consistent with label instructions as regulated by the United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA).
    • An object placed within the activation zone and left in place will cause only one activation.
  1. Storage and use of alcohol-based hand rubs shall be in accordance with the applicable provisions of Sections 5704 and 5705.
  1. Dispensers installed in occupancies with carpeted floors shall only be allowed in smoke compartments or fire areas equipped throughout with an approved automatic sprinkler system in accordance with Section 903.3.1.1 or 903.3.1.2.

What You Need to Know About Hand Sanitizer Stations in Corridors

In addition to the provisions of Section 5705.5, where wall-mounted dispensers containing alcohol-based hand rubs are installed in corridors or rooms and areas open to the corridor, they should also be in accordance with all of the following:

  1. Level 2 and 3 aerosol containers shall not be allowed in corridors.
  2. The maximum capacity of each Class I or II liquid dispenser shall be 41 ounces (1.21 L) and the maximum capacity of each Level 1 aerosol dispenser shall be 18 ounces (0.51 kg).
  3. The maximum quantity allowed in a corridor within a control area shall be 10 gallons (37.85 L) of Class I or II liquids or 1135 ounces (32.2 kg) of Level 1 aerosols, or a combination of Class I or II liquids and Level 1 aerosols not to exceed, in total, the equivalent of 10 gallons (37.85 L) or 1,135 ounces (32.2 kg) such that the sum of the ratios of the liquid and aerosol quantities divided by the allowable quantity of liquids and aerosols shall not exceed one.
  4. The minimum corridor width shall be 72 inches (1829 mm).
  5. Projections into a corridor shall be in accordance with Section 1003.3.3.

Keep Students Safe with Social Distancing Products for School

When it comes to keeping students and staff protected, Safelty6ft™ has the social distancing products for school your institution needs to safely and successfully return students to in-person learning. Whether you need hand sanitizer stations and helpful wall, window, and door signs designed to remind them to wash their hands and wear their face masks, or sneeze guards ideal for classrooms and cafeterias, you can find the social distancing tools for success right here at Safely6ft™. Shop today!

Amy Servi

Amy Servi wants to live in a world filled with innovative businesses, cute dogs, and more softball. Previously the Assistant...Read More

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