following guidelines will contribute significantly to
providing an electrically safe environment for all
personnel, whether they be patients, staff, or visitors.
Do not use electrical equipment with damaged
plugs or cords.
Do not attempt to repair defective equipment.
Do not use electrical equipment unless it is
properly grounded with a three-wire cord and
Do not use extension cords or plug adapters
unless approved by the Medical Repair
Department or the safety officer.
Do not create a trip hazard by passing electrical
cords across doorways or walkways.
Do not remove a plug from the receptacle by
gripping the cord.
Do not allow the use of personal electrical
appliances without the approval of the safety
Do not put water on an electrical fire.
Do not work with electrical equipment with wet
hands or feet.
Have newly purchased electronic medical
equipment tested for electrical safety by Medical
Repair before putting it into service.
Operate all electrical and electronic equipment
according to manufacturers instructions.
Remove from service electrical equipment that
sparks, smokes, or gives a slight shock. Tag
defective equipment and expedite repair.
Be aware that patients with intravenous therapy
and electronic monitoring equipment are at high
risk from electrical shocks.
Call Medical Repair when equipment is not
functioning properly or Public Works if there is
difficulty with the power distribution system.
Since accidents resulting in physical and chemical
burns have initiated numerous consumer claims of
healthcare provider and facility malpractice, all
healthcare personnel must be thoroughly indoctrinated
in the proper use of equipment, supplies, and
Physical and Chemical Burn Precautions
The following discussion will address common
causes and precautions to be taken to eliminate the
occurrence of burn injuries.
HOT WATER BOTTLES.A common cause of
burnsparticularly in the elderly, diabetics, and
patients with circulatory impairmentsis the hot
water bottle. When you are filling the bottle, the water
temperature must never exceed 125EF (51EC). Test
the bottle for leaks and cover it so that there is a
protective layer of cloth between the patient and the
HEATING PADS.Heating pads present a dual
hazard of potential burns and electrical shock. The
precautions that should be taken when using heating
pads are the same ones that should be used for hot
water bottles: temperature control and protective cloth
padding. Precautions you should observe to avoid
shock include properly maintaining the equipment;
conducting preuse inspections; testing the equipment
for wiring and plug defects; and ensuring periodic
safety inspections are conducted by Medical Repair
ICE BAGS OR COLD PACKS.Like hot water
bottles, ice bags and cold packs (packaged chemical
coolant) can cause skin-contact burns. This kind of
burn is commonly referred to as local frostbite. The
precautions taken for applying ice bags and cold baths
are the same as those for hot water bottles with regard
to attention to elderly, diabetic, and patients with
HYPOTHERMIA BLANKETS.Like ice
bags, hypothermia blankets can also cause contact
burns. When using hypothermia blankets, check the
patients skin frequently for signs of marked
discoloration (indicating indirect localized tissue
damage). Ensure that the bare blanket does not come in
direct contact with the patients unprotected skin. This
precaution is easily accomplished by using sheets or
cotton blankets between the patient and the
hypothermia blanket itself. When using this form of
therapy, follow both the physicians orders and the
manufacturer s instructions in managing the
temperature control of the equipment.
HEAT (BED) CRADLE.When using the heat
(bed) cradle, protect the patient from burns resulting
from overexposure or placement of the equipment too
close to the area of the patient being treated. As with
heating pads, heat cradles present the dual hazard of