I work for a hospital and we are having trouble on how to test GFCI's we have a tester SureTest Circuit Analyzer 61-155 which reads many things, like hot to ground leakage, time it takes to trip and so on. our safety officer is saying that i cant use this, that we should only use a light bulb and the test button, which i agree that is a way to test and think that for home owners is a good way but in the health care setting i would think something better is called for, is there any place in writing that i can show what is the correct way to test GFC's in healthcare settings
Gidday there Jim! Welcome to ECN. Just a small question, is your Safety Officer a Licenced Electrician?. If you are doing these said tests(as a Licenced Electrician), he should have no say in the method. Hospital equipment is something that I have a wee-bit of experience in, between my time at the local PoCo and where I currently work, I did a short stint at the local Hospital. But, what sort of trip current are we talking about here?(bear in mind that I come from New Zealand), where trip currents are 10mA in general patient-care areas and in Cardiac-Protected Areas, the trip levels are as low as 0.3mA. Personally, I think that you are doing the right thing by having test equipment that tests the correct values, especially in a Health Care environment. The Light-bulb and Test-Button Crowd, can just go and work in a Non-Essential Industry. Please, Jim, if you have any questions, just fire ahead, I'm sure that we can work it all out!.
[This message has been edited by Trumpy (edited 07-23-2003).]
Jim, I would recommend that you invite your local Ideal tool rep to come in and give a safety training. He will be able to explain to your safety officer (nd whoever else you want to invite) the why and wherefore's of testing GFCI's and the standards used. The reps do this type of training all the time. If you don't know your local rep, the supply house you use can get you in touch with him.
Also Jim, I was under the impression that any testing of systems like this in a Hospital, had to have detailed records filled out at the time of the tests taking place, as to what the exact results of the tests were, for safety reasons and of course, for legal reasons.
Trumpy, NO he is not a Licenced Electrician, he has a little buddy that is a Bio Med tech, Electronic's. and YES we do keep real good records on each and every recpt, I do have the Ideal rep coming out next month to do some training and have invited the Safety guy to attend but doubt he will, he says that all they want to do is sell us there equipment, I am hoping that when the rep gets here she will have something in writing so that i can show safety
The GFCI testers out there are good, but the only approved method for testing GFCIs is via the manufacturer's instructions, which only call for the push-the-test-button method.
What can you use to validate whether the external tester's is testing correctly? What do you do if the test show a bad outlet? Did you know that most of the testers have a time limit for use? You cannot use them on every outlet in a room unless you let the tester "time out" before the next use. Kind of defeats it's purpose, don't you think?
Gee, Rick. How do you verify that the test function of the couple of dollar device is correctly calibrated? What happens if the lightbulb fails just as you push the button? Have you ever heard of something called a Standard? It sounds to me like this safety tech should be given another assignment and soon. I think he may not really be interested in safety but is just a management flunky to make things look good. I know out techs are union craft employees and are out to keep our place really safe for the people who work here. (stepping down off my soapbox)
Rick, With regard to testing your GFCI tester, use a known working GFCI or test at the supplying Panel. Is there no legislation pertaining to the testing of GFCI's in a Medical installation in the US?, Surely this should be laid down in law?. As a rule Rick, I've never read the Manufacturers Instructions, as they pertain to the RCD's we use over here, they just cause confusion. I prefer to use my dedicated RCD tester that hasn't failed yet. Big Jim, Most gear that I have used is self-calibrating, provided that the meter is taken care of and the meter is re-calibrated by a recognised Calibrating Authority every 6-12 months. Jim A, It's good to see that you have records of tests done in the past. Just as a word of advice, take in all that you can from the Ideal Rep, mate, these people are paid to train guys just like yourself, fella's at the coal-face. It also sounds to me like your Safety guy is in the wrong occupation, because, any Safety-Orientated person would greet a Rep like this coming in with open arms, not with the attitude of it costing the company money. It also sounds like your Safety Guy needs the advice of Scotts (cue: Scotts), as this guy hasn't got a clue about Workplace Safety.