Environment, Health and Safety Manual - Chapter 04.16: Fire Safety - Mechanical Rooms Usage and Access


Environment, Health and Safety Manual - Chapter 04.16: Fire Safety - Mechanical Rooms Usage and Access


The purpose of this policy is to provide guidelines for safe work practices due to the inherent dangers and potential hazards associated with various types of complex equipment inside mechanical rooms. The potential for serious incident resulting in injury and/or property damage mandates that this policy be strictly enforced.


A mechanical room is defined as any room that houses any sort of mechanical and/or electrical equipment supporting the building. This includes any and all HVAC, air handling, fire control, electrical, boiler, pump, sprinkler, fire pumps, etc.


The North Carolina State Building/Fire Code 315.2.3 states that “Combustible materials shall not be stored in boiler rooms, mechanical rooms, or electrical equipment rooms.” Storage of any kind, except that which pertains to the maintenance of equipment in that facility, is prohibited. Items that can be stored in the room include:

  • Small quantity of replacement Air filters that are properly stored to ensure their cleanliness.
  • Small quantity of replacement bulbs that is properly stored in a closed secure box.
  • One box to place used bulbs which must have the following:
    • Be marked “Universal Waste-Lamps” or “Waste Lamps” or “Used Lamps” on the side of the box
    • Date of when the first waste lamp was placed in the box
    • This box must be kept closed unless a bulb is actively being added to the box.
    • At one year, regardless if the box is full, the bulb boxes should be brought to the EHS Storage Facility across from Surplus Property for proper disposal. For more information, go to the Environmental Affairs FAQs page on the EHS website.
  • Ladder used to access service work.
  • Drawing of building if appropriate stored in drawing cabinet.

At no time can gasoline or paint be stored in mechanical rooms.

Additional items can only be stored in mechanical rooms if that room has a fire-rated barrier wall in accordance with North Carolina State Building/Fire Code.


Due to the complex equipment inside mechanical rooms, only authorized University personnel, and/or authorized contractors hired by the University, shall have access to or shall enter these rooms. Distribution of key access to these areas will be managed by the Department of Facilities Services.

All doors entering mechanical rooms are to be locked at all times. If a situation arises that the doors need to be left open, a designated employee shall be required to stand watch until the doors can be secured.


Environment, Health and Safety

Environment, Health and Safety is responsible for inspecting mechanical rooms at least once a year regarding appropriate storage and general housekeeping of the room. Any violations will be reported to Facility Service and/or Energy Services for immediate correction. Additionally, mechanical rooms are subject to inspection by the North Carolina State Department of Insurance (DOI), at their annual inspection.

Maintenance Personnel

Maintenance Personnel are responsible for maintaining a “clean” mechanical room at all times. When service work is performed, any guards that are removed or junction boxes opened are to be replaced and closed at the end of the service work for that day. At no time, can junction box/guards be left open/off. Any deficiencies noted during the EHS inspection are to be corrected immediately. Smoking and food is prohibited in these rooms.


Departments are prohibited from usage of mechanical rooms for purposes other than its designed use.

Contact Information

Policy Contact

Environment, Health and Safety
1120 Estes Drive
Campus Box #1650
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-1650
Phone: 919-962-5507

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Article ID: 131949
Thu 4/8/21 9:20 PM
Mon 7/4/22 1:41 PM
Responsible Unit
School, Department, or other organizational unit issuing this document.
Environment, Health and Safety
Issuing Officer
Name of the document Issuing Officer. This is the individual whose organizational authority covers the policy scope and who is primarily responsible for the policy.
Issuing Officer Title
Title of the person who is primarily responsible for issuing this policy.
Executive Director
Next Review
Date on which the next document review is due.
09/01/2026 12:00 AM
Last Review
Date on which the most recent document review was completed.
05/10/2022 12:00 AM
Last Revised
Date on which the most recent changes to this document were approved.
01/28/2019 12:00 AM
Effective Date
If the date on which this document became/becomes enforceable differs from the Origination or Last Revision, this attribute reflects the date on which it is/was enforcable.
01/28/2019 12:00 AM
Date on which the original version of this document was first made official.
06/01/2014 12:00 AM