We depend on healthcare and medical facilities to safeguard our well-being. Millions of patients visited the 6,210 hospitals located throughout the U.S. in 2017 — and it’s a safe bet that those patients relied on the medical staff at those hospitals to protect them.
While hospitals and healthcare centers will do everything possible to keep patients safe, it’s important to note that these facilities can present certain dangers if they aren’t well-maintained. Medical equipment and certain building systems can fall into disrepair if their upkeep isn’t prioritized, while certain machines may pose certain risks if they’re used improperly.
Overall, electrical safety is a concern for both patients and employees alike. That’s why it’s essential for staff members at medical and healthcare facilities to be proactive. Here are just a few ways in which you can prioritize electrical safety within your organization.
Perform Electrical Safety Inspections
Hospitals, nursing facilities, and countless other health organizations are required to have electrical safety inspections performed in order to maintain proper certification. These inspections can provide physical protection to staff and patients, as well as legal and reputational protection. You should have all medical equipment checked by a professionally trained technician at least once a year. Everything from hospital beds and therapy tables to vital monitors, defibrillators, and electrocardiogram machines should be inspected. Assuming all equipment is in working order, you can proceed with confidence and get back to helping your patients.
Discontinue Use of Worn-Out Equipment
During the course of electrical safety inspections — or even during the time between inspections — it may become obvious that certain equipment may be becoming worn out. It’s not uncommon for medical facilities to operate on tight budgets, which may mean that older equipment may be used until repairs or replacement become absolutely necessary. If your technician finds that a piece of equipment does not pass inspection, it’s crucial that you discontinue its use immediately and schedule repairs or purchase a replacement. It’s also important that management heed warnings from staff members who use this equipment every day. If it’s become clear to them that a certain piece of medical equipment could pose a hazard, that equipment must be taken out of rotation right away to protect everyone at your facility. As such, you should maintain policies for interim equipment inspection and analysis to close any gaps that might exist.
Utilize Medical Isolation Transformers
Another way to prioritize healthcare electrical safety is by using medical isolation transformers. Medical grade isolation transformers ensure both the performance and safety of essential equipment. They prevent overcurrent and excessive voltage, protecting patients, staff, and the equipment itself. These transformers are especially prevalent in emergency departments (like the ICU), as well as surgical settings. Without these isolation transformers, the use of certain equipment could result in electric shock or issues with electrical power transfer. By using medical grade isolation transformers, your facility can protect against hazardous (or even potentially fatal) electrical leakage in both patient care and operation applications.
While we all rely on electricity to complete a variety of daily tasks, it’s vital to remember that electrical power can be dangerous when the right equipment isn’t used or maintained. With these tips in mind, you can make your healthcare facility a safer place for all.