Printed from the blog of Lori Greene, AHC/CDC, CCPR, FDAI
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Aug 10 2018


The director of maintenance for some nursing homes in NYC sent me this photo and asked how to avoid this problem in future installations.  The staff bumps into the locked door hard enough to flex the door and get it to unlatch, eventually wearing the latchbolt, loosening screws in the face plate and strike, and damaging the door.  Any constructive suggestions?


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35 Responses to “FF: WWYD?”

  1. Ron Richter says:

    Well, assuming they are allowed to keep the knobs… if and when they replace the doors,
    I’d look into the Keedex Polycarbonate door lock guards, they even come in stainless steel..
    keeps those carts that the idiot employees keep thrashing the doors with from impacting
    the door hardware.

  2. Bob Caron says:

    One Summer when I was in school, I worked with the maintenance department. We’d see stuff like that and my boss would just shake his head and say, “You can’t have nuthin’ here.”

    • Lori says:

      Sounds like my mother whenever we broke/scratched/lost anything…”THIS IS WHY WE CAN’T HAVE NICE THINGS!”

      – Lori

  3. cda says:

    I guess it may depend on what room the door serves.

    If the door can be left open,,, door holder

    If it cannot be left open, like this one looks like a janitors closet

    Not sure? Sign “ you bump the door, just clock out”

    Or maybe put a camera there and see who is doing it ??

  4. Gary A Huizen says:

    Start a PM program & put some $$$ back into the facility.

  5. Kristi Daniel says:

    Replace the outer door knob with a paddle operator? Or the typical latch with a roller latch? Or electric strike with paddle operator? Thoughts…

  6. Kristi Daniel says:

    Replace the outer door knob with a paddle operator (new typical latch and strike)?

    Replace existing latch and strike with roller latch?

    Electric strike with paddle operator?

  7. Rich McKie says:

    I was thinking along the same lines as cda. Fire a couple then maybe the rest will smarten up.

    More realistically, I would install a heavier guage door with welded seams and install the hardware properly so that it couldn’t be bumped open. Then they would have to open it using the handle.

  8. Joseph Hendry says:

    Maybe time to replace the door. This looks older than dirt.

  9. Krystina says:

    What about mortise hospital latches when they replace the door because good heavens that door is busted! If they refuse to buy a new door, then what about replacing it with a grade 1 cylindrical lock and getting a larger latch cover plate to cover the width of the door edge? Also, it might be important to look at the gap between the frame and the door at the latch/strike. If the latch is not fully latching because there is too big of a gap, no matter what hardware they try to put on there, without fixing that, the issue won’t be resolved. How to fix the gap without a new door is beyond me though.

  10. Jim says:

    Deadbolt for when the door needs to be access controlled? Replace the knob lock with a push/pull lock for the staff to bump into when the deadbolt is retracted?

    • Are Are says:

      I would disagree in terms of definitions, that access control is not a deadbolt, rather a latch of sorts and a deadbolt is more of a security device…

  11. Marshall says:

    I’d say replace with a Paladin door, LM9300, and a sign “if you don’t have the key, stay out!”


  12. Kenny says:

    Well, the first thing to do would be to have the latch facing the right direction. Something is very wrong here.

  13. Toby says:

    Replace door with continously welded door edge for strength since the door has been split already. Install plastic tear drop bumper / protection. When they bump that, the plastic will take some of the abuse / force. Also change to either a mortise lock which will spread out the force along the door edge.
    Of course if the door is fire rated the tear drop bumper will not work. Use an extra heavy duty armor plate with cart guards (also called a protector bar). Example is Rockwood R116EDPL

  14. David S. Kenyon says:

    Nothing that Duck Tape can’t FIX !!

  15. Keith Krienke says:

    This is an odd picture it doesn’t tell the whole story;

    The most direct answer is a 16ga seam welded door instead of that 18ga non welded unit.

    But Maintenance is the real issue here how long was that door slamming violently on a half functioning latch to damage that door on that side of the door? If they were banging carts or something into it the door would be damaged on the other side. There is nothing he can do if he lets his doors get to this point. Might was well go cheap door and no name lockset like he has now and let it run to fail again.

  16. Greg Aff says:

    A few things. First of all, it looks like an Amweld door. I have never been a fan of Amweld, as I have replaced far too many over the years and have seen similar things. Having said that, here is what I specify on doors that serve rooms that have carts going in and out all of the time:
    1. Swing Clear hinges
    2. Edge Guards
    3. Armor Plates
    4. If a closer is required, add the Delayed Action feature.
    5. Lock protector similar to Rockwood R112LPB.
    6. Plunger Holder (if not on a fire door).
    Years ago I was called to a job to measure up for a new door. The maintenance staff told me they replaced the door every 2 years because it got hammered with carts.
    I installed a new door with the above hardware, and the door is still in great shape 15 years later.

  17. Chuck Park says:

    Seamless fully welded door and Grade One hardware.

  18. Joel says:

    Don Jo makes a wrap around, 4CW, that can “save” that door and strengthen it at the same time.

    Bumping into the door and getting it to flex and open makes me wonder what kind of shape the frame / wall is in. Sometimes they use prefinshed steel frames (Redi-frame) and metal studs which makes for a very weak frame and strike.

    I would bet that metal door is shot and needs to be replaced.

  19. Fred Collier says:

    I would install a Don-Jo wrap around 12-2-CW, a Keedex K-12 S Protect-A-Lock on each side of the door and a Grade 1 lever Lock.

    If they tear those up then time for a 99 exit devise.

  20. Fadi Ammoun says:

    Hi Lori,
    This is why in UK that tested fire doors in unlatched position, it is accepted by local codes. They depend on door closer to keep the door shut.

  21. Mario Dima says:

    Welded seams, heavier gauge door, and perhaps vertically stiffened ribs.

  22. DAVID FEDERICO says:

    Looks like it’s time to retire this door . Or the people responsible for it’s condition. Latch looks like it’s from another grade two lockset used as a replacement from an already broken one . Time to teach employees how to use the door.. John Wayne said it best …. You can’t fix Stupid. Lol

  23. David Barbaree says:

    It’s easy to blame the staff for abuse but I also believe this door may not have been designed properly for the location and usage. Perhaps the usage of this room changed over time and the change of operation did not take into consideration how staff would need to get through that opening. Door function designs need to take into consideration the possibility of abuse. In areas that get heavy traffic and abuse like this, you either need a door assembly that auto operates, or one that can take a hit, or both. This is why door assemblies are designed specifically for areas of the country that are prone to tornadoes. If a current door is not holding up, don’t just replace what was there. Put in something more durable. Also, it looks like this opening might be rated since it’s on the corridor so there may be a compliance factor to the solution considered here.

    For future installations that will be more durable:
    14 ga (extra heavy duty) hollow metal door and frame reinforced at hardware mount locations
    Continuous hinge – to minimize damage if door is wedged open with a broom
    Grade 1 mortise lock – function depending on whether the room needs access control
    Auto operator
    Electric (fail secure tied to fire alarm if opening is rated) strike
    Protector bar

    For this door, the lowest cost (partial)solution if the door is not rated:
    Weld reinforcement repairs
    Replace lock with Grade 1 lockset
    Add protector bar –

    Solution if the door is rated:
    Replace the door with extra heavy duty steel door
    New grade 1 mortise lock
    Add auto operator
    Add rated electric (fail secure) strike tied to fire alarm
    Add protector bar

  24. LarryG says:

    Sorry, I have to disagree with most of the posts above. This is clearly not a hardware problem.

    What this nursing home suffers from is some serious dysfunction in terms of “organizational culture”. Replacing existing, damaged hardware or installing new assemblies will more than likely result in more damage if nothing is done to first address the aspect of organizational culture where it has somehow become acceptable to willfully damage organizational assets.

    Bottom line, this is a management problem, the number 1 person in the organization has to own it, and they must communicate to all department heads that this type of behavior will not be tolerated. Rank and file workers do what they perceive is important to their supervisor/manager. If they are not receiving that message get rid of the supervisor/manager, not the rank and file worker.

    Then establish a charge back process where every department is held financially responsible for damage caused by their employees. Only when people are held personally accountable will the culture in this organization improve. Until then it’s throwing good money after bad to just continue to repair whatever damage is found.

    • Nicolas A Lalaurette says:

      This is our issue, but at the end of the day I’m left with the problem and the headaches, and everyone looks at me when the department of health gives me citations for these kind of issues.

    • EricT says:

      Thank you LarryG. Finally a voice of reason. I read each reply and thought, “what about accountability” (although a few did allude to this). I would bet that those responsible for the damage also complain about their hourly wage and think they deserve more. That starts with taking care of your workplace. I believe most employers (certainly not all) want their employees to be happy and are willing to recognize and compensate for hard work/extra effort. Destroying company property doesn’t fit that criteria. The money spent replacing and repairing company property that is senselessly abused could be dispersed as bonuses or higher wages for all.

  25. TFL Pittsburgh says:

    First, find out why the staff is bumping into the door with such force. Is the door located in an area where it interferes with job function. Or can the job function be moved to another location. As its a nursing home, I would presume either gurneys or carts may get turned around in that area and hit the door. If the customer cannot change the job function, my first recommendation would be to replace the door with a reinforced door and multipoint lock exit device. If the door cannot be replaced, I would install some metal door reinforcer over the latch area and still recommend a multipoint exit device.

  26. Nicolas A Lalaurette says:

    Thanks for all the responses. That is a soiled utility closet and it must remain constantly locked and be positive latching. The door locks have to be replaced to be lever type and when I do that they will definitely have some kind of guard for the hardware and doors will be replaced, but before I can do all of that I need to find a way to deter this behavior. Its a nursing home so nursing staff doesn’t give a damn about my job and believe it or not, they open the doors using their hips and no carts whatsoever. Nursing staff believes they’re protected by their union at all costs so they do what they wish. I’ve tried convincing management to add cameras so we can catch the culprit but no luck. I fixed the gap issue by adding a second latch plate on the door frame, but since the doors are in such a bad shape, they flex and the latch comes undone. Deadbolts are out of the question since storage rooms to hazardous materials need to be positive latching and signs don’t work because apparently they cannot read. It’s frustrating at times, especially when you have a survey from the department of health and they find these issues which were fixed a week ago.

    • EricT says:

      Can you provide a little more info?
      Are the doors fire rated? This is a very important factor.
      When the doors and locks were new, the nurses would have had to use a key to access the room (unless the gap between door and frame has always been too wide). Key access is what we need to get back to unless access control is within your budget. An electric strike would be a great option if you have the funds.

      Fire rated or not, don’t buy the cheapest door you can find in your town. Ask for a welded edge (you’ll likely have to wait a few weeks for this) and hang the door on heavy weight hinges, or better yet, a continuous hinge with the full leg that protects the entire hinge edge of the door (Ives 224HD). The frame may need some reinforcing (particularly around the strike plate) if it has been beat-up as much as the door. I would recommend a mortise lock vs. cylindrical. I’m not convinced that a heavier gauge door will add much benefit. Yes, it will make it harder to bend/break but the heavier gauge means heavier door which means the hardware is carrying more weight (ie. hinges, closer). Definitely use a continuous hinge if you go with a 16ga. door. An 18ga door should be fine if you have the welded edge and install proper protection. This is especially true since you mentioned carts are not ramming the door – it’s nurses using their hips. I’d use a Trim Protector Bar (Rockwood HD22##) for the lever (maybe one beside the lever and another below it), Armor Plate and Protective Stainless Door Edge (Rockwood 300 series) on the lock edge. You can use a hospital push/pull paddle to make it easier to pull the door open from the inside if you think that helps but the problem seems to be on the push side so I don’t think a paddle is necessary.

      As far as the union is concerned, there should still be accountability. If destruction and vandalism are acceptable, have the union pay for the electric strike and card reader. Might as well throw in the auto-operator at that point. The mentality of these organizations absolutely amazes me sometimes.

      Best of luck to you.

  27. Nick Moore says:

    That door needs to be replaced, it’s trashed, or put a wrap around on and make sure there is support for the latch to prevent fishtailing, and replace the latch if the rest of the lock is in good condition check door gap, strike and adjust accordingly.

  28. Michael Glenn says:

    When I worked in a hospital as a facility manager many years ago, I found these to be very helpful in cases like this. We had a lot of door knobs get sheared as we found out the supply folks were holding a door knob trophy contest. We fixed the problem and got the competitors reprimanded.

  29. Dustin says:

    Just reverse the door swing… simple. LOL

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