23 Aug, 2021

Electrical safety requirements in the health care sector must be dealt with the finest technology available. After the COVID-19 pandemic strike, several fire accidents and electrical mishaps occurred due to electrical failures in COVID hospitals in Mumbai, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. Hospital facility designers have had a word with our engineers about proper electrical plan complying electrical norms which state the requirement of installation providing a stable platform for sensitive electric/ electronic equipments such as patient monitoring equipments, diagnostic imaging equipments, ventilators and various other bio medical equipments.

In this session, our focus point would be what goes wrong in the fire safety and electrical management system that cause electric mishaps and fire hazards.

Focusing on the Main Cause for Electrical Failure and Fire Hazards:

1. Improper Wiring and Cabling of Electrical Network:
Poor quail wires/ cables or its wrong connection leads to crucial electrical mishaps and fire hazards in hospitals.

2. Lack of Structural Protection System:
Lightning is the deadliest hazard known to us releasing high amount of electric energy that can hit any particle, person or structure in order to reach the ground. Apart from damaging the structure, it can also encroach inside your facility via the transmission lines or telecom lines and cause electric system damages and further cause fire outbreak.

3. Fault in Earthing/ Grounding Installation:
Misprovision or faulty earthing system means electric network is devoid of any protection causing unsatisfactory working of electrical appliances or its failure. Hospitals have sensitive and sophisticated medical equipments and overworked sockets and cables where it can cause electrocution, fire hazards or any other such hazard if the exposed parts of these sensitive equipments are not connected to the conducting earth mass utilizing a ground rod/ electrode that provides zero potential surface around.

4. Predominantly Overloads, Power Sags or Dips Are Cause of  System Malfunctioning:
Hospital environment has flammable liquids, liquid oxygen gas, etc  where a power surges leads to electric mishaps risking the life of patients, health workers and visitors.

5. Strategies to Achieve electrically Safe Cum Fireproof Hospital Facility: A proper wiring and cabling with Flame Retardant Low Smoke cable ducts for the entire facility is a vital requirement. Structural lightning protection system must be adopted after risk analysis and degree of protection required as per the international standardIS/IEC 62305 & National Building Code (NBC 2016) which is the latest revision clearly defining the need of lightning protection system for building structures which involves components - Air terminal network, down conductor, bonding techniques, grounding methods and practices. As per the standard, we use flexible design tools to evaluate the lightning strike density of the structure to be protected and determine the nature of LPS system using degree of safety required along with associated risk factors. Further, based on this risk assessment, the entire structure is sufficiently protected with proper system designing.

Attention should be paid to the earthing system installation - choose the Maintenance Free Earthing System based on latest technology strictly complying with the IS 3043: 2018 and National building code 2016 in which we will determine and work on the parameters – Soil measurement, Fault current calculation and Earthing grid designing using CDEGS software tool.
Talking of the relevant standards and codes vital when dealing with such safety installation are IEC 62561-2, NFC 17-100, IEEE 80 and IS 3043– in which appropriate grounding rods or conductors, soil conditions, bonding techniques, connections made and system terminations are critical parameters determining the system design. The designing and installation of maintenance free earthing system should be always in accordance with relevant standards as it is necessary for protection of human life and avoiding equipment failure. 

Installation of surge protection devices to tackle the power surges are crucial unit made of components such as metal oxide varistors, Spark gaps or Gas discharge tubes. Classified according to the applications, you need to simply plug your vulnerable devices onto these surge suppressing units chosen according to the current and the voltage ratings.