Electrical Safety Testing
The main purpose of performing an electrical safety test on medical equipment is to ensure patient safety. It is important to test equipment for any electrical internal breakdowns and leakage currents, as well as damage to power cords, AC main feeds, fuses, and power bars. In order to approve a unit for use, it must meet the applicable codes and standards such as CSA and Health Canada.
Electrical Safety during Preventative Maintenance
During the annual preventative maintenance testing, when TRH Services completes an electrical safety test on your devices, we put special care into checking for the following:
- Physically damaged wires and cords: We visually inspect for any damaged components of the power supply.
- Use of correct electrical cords, cord caps, and power bars (hospital grade): Hospital grade cords meet industry standards such as wire gauge, shielding, and reliable grounding source. All power cords that are identified for medical equipment use can be easily identified by a green dot located on the cord cap.
- Leakage currents: Following a visual inspection, we test for leakage currents using a safety analyzer. A leakage current is caused by the deterioration of the protective material allowing the electric current to potentially transfer to another object (such as the unit or a patient).
When to Test
On newly acquired equipment prior to being accepted for use: It is important to do incoming inspections in order to establish that the device is working correctly rather than assume it is functioning. Any necessary repairs may be covered by warranty, potentially saving you money.
During routine planned preventative maintenance: It is important to test during a planned preventative maintenance program so that we can be sure the unit will continue to work until at least the next PM. If there is a problem, or upcoming foreseeable problem, the issue can be dealt with without causing harm or an unplanned interruption in service.
After repairs have been carried out on equipment: Here at TRH Service, as an extra safety precaution we perform electrical safety tests after each repair before returning the unit and approving it for use.
Reasons a Unit May Fail
Listed below details common reasons why a unit may fail an electrical safety test.
- The unit or any of its components are physically damaged
- The power cord cap is not Hospital Grade, or the power bar that the unit is attached to is not Hospital Grade
- The grounding resistance of the unit to Earth exceeds 0.2Ω/Foot
- The unit exceeds allowable leakage current of 250 µA (or up to 500 µA in certain devices)
Patient felt a shock: Visually inspect for any damage to the power source or cords. If there is no visual damage present, such as exposed wire or broken strain relief, then there may be an internal problem and it would be best to call us.
Power interruptions with medical devices; In the event of a power interruption, the power source is usually the culprit. Verify the power cord has not been unplugged from the wall, and then make sure it is connected to the unit. There could possibly be that a fuse has blown or that the power supply has malfunctioned.
The TRH Value
The added valve of choosing TRH Services to complete your preventative maintenance program or repairs on your medical equipment is that we ensure your units are electrically safe to use. By allowing TRH Services to test your equipment we ensure that common problems associated with electrical safety are identified and corrected before they become an issue or cause harm to a patient. At TRH Services our expertise can help educate you on the importance of electrical safety testing, and we will help keep you, your patients, and the end users safe when using the equipment we test. We can provide onsite service to your facility if you are located in South-Western Ontario (London, Toronto, Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge, Guelph, Hamilton, etc.). Otherwise you can always ship of drop off your unit to us, and we are located at 23-140 McGovern Dr, Cambridge, Ontario, N3H 4R7.
Written By: Rolando Valladares
Edited By: Tyler Hasenpflug CET