Power leads and electrical appliances
This Safety Alert is issued to inform people of their responsibilities regarding the safety of electrical equipment and attached electrical power cords.
WorkSafe ACT was notified of a potentially lethal work situation where a worker received an electric shock sufficient to throw the worker 2 metres from the contact site.
The worker was involved in the health care industry. The shock occurred while the worker was providing health care services to a patient. The worker came into contact with a damaged electrical power cord that was connected to an electrical power outlet and an operating piece of medical equipment. The cord had sustained sufficient prior damage as to penetrate the protective insulation and expose live inner wiring.
The damage was as a possible consequence of pinching in bed rails or being run over by bed or trolley wheels. Although the cord was subject to periodic maintenance inspections the damage to the cord occurred outside the inspection period. The damage to the cord was not detected prior to use.
Periodic inspection, testing and maintenance of electrical equipment and cords should be conducted in accordance with the manufacturer’s requirements and Australian Standards AS/NZS: 3760.
A pre use visual inspection of the equipment and the power cord should be conducted prior to use. Any damaged or suspect equipment must be taken out of service immediately and referred to a competent person for repair.
Medical and health care equipment should undergo a pre use visual inspection of the equipment and the power cord when being set up for use. Any damaged or suspect equipment must be taken out of service immediately and referred to a competent person for repair.
Medical equipment in continual use should undergo periodic visual inspections to identify any visible damage caused by other equipment or activities in the patient care area.
Hospitals, health care facilities and organisations should establish, by a professional risk management analysis, the test intervals for required maintenance and inspection activities so that risks and hazards are adequately managed, including consideration of “the level of pre-use checking by users on a regular basis or immediately before use” (section 4.4 AS/NZS 3551. Technical management programs for medical devices).
Staff training and induction should be amended to include periodic and pre use visual inspections of electrical power leads.
This Alert contains information emerging during an investigation by WorkSafe ACT into the mentioned incident at the date of this report. The information contained in this report does not necessarily reflect the final outcome of WorkSafe’s views or proposed actions with respect to this incident. WorkSafe ACT does not warrant the information in this report is complete or up-to date and does not accept any liability to any person for the information in this report, or its use.
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