Legislation & Standards
The Health and Safety at Work Act 2015, together with the Electricity (Safety) Regulations 2010, make the owners of healthcare practices responsible for ensuring a safe environment for both patients and staff. The only way to be sure that the electrical equipment in your practice is safe to use is to have it routinely tested.
Owners and users of medical electrical equipment need to be aware that under New Zealand law all such devices must be routinely tested for safety. Failure to do so may result in fines being imposed.
There are three standards that practice owners and practitioners should be aware of:
AS/NZS2500 Guide to the safe use of electricity in patient care
This standard deals mainly with the safe applicatiuon of medical equipment (i.e. safe procedures). It applies to all patient areas where electrical equipment is used for medical diagnosis treatment or monitoring. It is intended for use by all personnel concerned with the application of electrical appliances: nurses, physicians, therapists, engineers, administrators and management.
AS/NZS3003 Electrical installations - patient areas
This standard covers the electrical installation or in other words the electrical wiring and fittings within a building such as a medical centre, clinic or hospital. It is the standard that covers the need for RCDs. There is a perception that this standard only applies to hospitals. This is incorrect - it applies to all healthcare facilities where medical electrical equipment is used, but prudent risk management may indicate that the installation of Body Protected Areas might not always be required.
AS/NZS3551 Management programs for medical equipment
This standard is wide ranging in that it applied to both electrical and non-electrical medical equipment. It contains a lot of definitions and procedures, but is most important because it details the procedures and parameters for electrical safety testing.