Ensuring operational continuity and human safety in hospitals without compromise

Hospitals are complex installations utilising multiple applications that must work flawlessly 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Electrical availability supports operational continuity and is especially crucial in emergency rooms, intensive care units and operating theatres, where interruptions can be a matter of life and death. Ensuring power continuity in hospitals is a big challenge, requiring deep knowledge of correct installation practices and devices that can ensure uninterrupted service and a healthy environment. For this reason, electrical products in hospitals are certified according to IEC 60364 in Europe and AS/NZS 3003 in Australia and New Zealand.

A standard for life
The standards specifically apply to electrical installations in buildings, including the IEC group 2 medical locations and AS/NZS Cardiac Protected Areas, “where applied parts are intended to be used in applications such as emergency intracardiac procedures, operating theatres and vital treatment areas where supply failure can cause danger to life.”

Electrical products installed in medical locations must be designed and manufactured for integrated operation, so choosing a reliable partner is key to reaching the objectives of safety and efficiency.

For example, the medical installations section of the AS/NZS 3000, AS/NZS 3003 and IEC 60364 standards set out measures to prevent electrocution that may arise from direct contact with the live part of a circuit, or from indirect contact with a metal part, such as the metal body of a sterilizer, which is not normally live, but which has become live due to an insulation malfunction.

Based on our long history and proven track record in the healthcare sector, we have developed this Practical Guide for Patient Areas in Medical Locations illustrates the requirements provided by IEC 60364-7-710 and AS/NZS 3003 to implement elec­trical systems inside patient area medical locations.

This in-depth technical guide explores real-world hospital and healthcare issues and applications, while continuously comparing regulatory aspects with technical/installation aspects. The guide is also an aid to any­one approaching this type of system for the first time, which involves specific design criteria and responsibilities for designers and installers.

No contact
To guard against direct contact, active parts must be properly insulated, or properly isolated with appropriate barriers or casings. Protective measures for indirect contact include:

  • systems to initiate automatic disconnection of the power supply
  • installation of electrical connections between the grounding electrode and any metal conductor, such as pipes, plumbing and flues
  • medical IT systems to contain contact voltages, reduce leakage currents and guarantee continuity of service in the event of a fault
  • installation of medical electrical equipment equipped with Class II insulation
  • installation of electrical systems using very low safety voltages, such as SELV (Safety Extra Low Voltage) and PELV (Protection Extra Low Voltage) systems

ABB delivers a complete range of products to provide hospitals – from operating theatres to service rooms – with completely safe and efficient environments.

Operational continuity

Particularly in hospitals and healthcare facilities, continuity of operations and single-fault safety are crucial. To prevent serious implications, ABB’s advanced H+ Line range, including monitors, switchboards, isolating transformers and fault indicators, is specifically designed to ensure the safety and service continuity of Cardiac Protected and group 2 medical locations, such as intensive therapy wards, operating rooms, cardio-surgical rooms, ICU, day hospitals, clinics, rest homes, dental and veterinary clinics.

Products belonging to H+ Line solution guarantee safety in hospitals’ and healthcare facilities’ group 2 medical locations in compliance with the provisions of AS/NZS 3003 low-voltage isolated supplies and IEC 60364 requirements which regulates electrical installations in medical environments such as hospitals, medical and dental practices, veterinary clinics and health care centres.

Reliable and flexible energy distribution

SMISSLINE TP is the world’s first plug-in socket system with integrated busbar that simplifies the planning, setup and maintenance of electrical systems. Completely protected against direct contact, the system is fully touch proof even when plugging or unplugging devices.

The possibility to make changes and additions during ongoing operation makes this system ideal for hospitals, especially when changes are required during mission critical situations or emergencies.

SMISSLINE TP products include circuit breakers, surge arresters, switch disconnectors, motor protection switches, busbar system and accessories.

Load-free devices and components that are under voltage can be plugged in and out with complete IP2X protection, guarding against electrical hazards such as switch or fault arcs. This capacity enables much more flexible installation, quick and safe maintenance and service continuity, all very important in hospital installations.

Making hospitals smarter
ABB’s i-bus KNX intelligent control system delivers comfort, security and efficiency to electrical installations in hospitals.

The electrical installations in medical environments are required to function faultlessly to ensure customer safety. With i-bus KNX it is possible to monitor in real time all functions in the buildings, receive alarm messages and take action when necessary.

Another important challenge for hospitals required by the healthcare industry is to cut costs without adversely affecting patients. ABB’s i-bus KNX offers comfort through the optimal control of heating, blinds, lighting and air conditioning, with the added advantage of reducing waste, providing comfort while making energy saving of up to 50 percent.

Take Calvary Adelaide Hospital for example where the ABB i-Bus KNX system was adopted for all lighting control and monitoring, based on the worldwide KNX standard. With this solution, coupled with DALI (digital addressable lighting interface), gives hospital personnel and maintenance staff full command of the lighting functions. All these functions can be managed automatically according to a schedule, sunset or sunrise, or presence of people, or by the touch of a button. This level of controllable lighting system is key to energy saving, with the additional benefit of increased comfort and safety.

Visit ABB’s dedicated hospital & healthcare website to learn more about the latest technology for safe, smart and sustainable hospitals operations.

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About the author

Ian Richardson

Ian Richardson is the Building Solutions Technical Specialist within ABB Australia's Electrification business. Ian leads the product life-cycle of energy distribution solutions for developing and product engineering through to marketing strategies. Ian has more than 40 years of industry experience in the building automation and energy distribution sectors. He is also Chairman/Director of the KNX National Group Australia since 2011. KNX is the only worldwide standard for home and building automation, adopted by Standards Australia as a technical specification. KNX devices can manage lighting, blinds and shutters, HVAC, security systems, energy management, renewable energy, audio video, whitegoods, visualisation, remote monitoring.
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