NFPA 99 establishes criteria for levels of health care services or systems based on risk to the patients, staff, or visitors in health care facilities to minimize the hazards of fire, explosion, and electricity. These guidelines create awareness in a medical facility, such that the hospital knows if there is any improperly grounded or defective medical equipment. The NFPA 99 has distinct guidelines for equipment that are used both inpatient and patient-restricted areas of a healthcare organization environment. One of the first organizations to publish standards to this effect is the NFPA- National Fire Protection Agency, stating its guidelines under NFPA99 (Standards for Health Care Facilities). For access to their latest standards, which are updated annually, visit here. Here are the electrical safety inspections (NFPA99) in healthcare facilities.
The first standard under the NFPA99 is safety grounding. Safety grounding is a method through which harmful leakage current from equipment is drained off and is also used to blow or disable fuses in case a grounded metal case experiences shorts.
There are two types of leakage currents: capacitive and resistive current. Capacitive currents typically form between oppositely charged surfaces. Resistive currents, on the other hand, are a result of resistance insulation around transformer windings and power wires. Safety ground wires are usually added to reduce excessive leakage currents from the chassis which may easily come into contact with both patients and caregivers, causing unprecedented injuries.
In addition, Chassis leakage current testing should be done before installation of fixed equipment because, at this point, it is temporarily insulated from the ground.
Lead Leakage Test
Next, a lead leakage test should be performed on all equipment prior to permanent installation. NFPAA99 has very specific standards to follow to ensure that there is no error in this.
- The meter should be isolated, and a momentary switch used.
- Include resistance in series to effectively limit currents
- Make measurements for appliances with exposed conducive surfaces and without a power cord in a temporarily grounded condition.
- Electrical appliances used during patient care in general care areas should be tested at least every twelve months and those in wet locations and critical care areas every six months. However, if your facility is accredited, these tests are mandatory.
- Lead current tests are only necessary after repairs or modifications to equipment as the integrity of the system may be compromised or before inspection.
- Use an isolation monitor to check impedance from all isolated circuit lines to the ground as it will warn when low impedance to the ground develops or when a fault occurs.
Take these electrical safety inspections (NFPA99) in healthcare facilities into consideration and you should be well on your way! For more questions, feel free to visit our website or speak with an expert here at iRad.