Safety warning over electric shocks from hospital bed power cords

The following article is a news item provided for the benefit of members. Its content does not necessarily reflect the views of the Australian Institue of Health & Safety.
Date: 
Tuesday, 22 October, 2019 - 12:45
Category: 
Policy & legislation
Location: 
Victoria

WorkSafe Victoria recently issued a safety alert about the hazards and risks associated with electric hospital bed power cords after an employee received a severe electric shock from the power cord of an electric hospital bed.

The protective outer insulation of the power cord for the bed was damaged by the bed wheels after it was left to trail along the floor during a patient transfer.

The damage exposed the powers cords electrical wires, but the employee did not notice the damage to the cord.

When they plugged the bed into a power outlet the worker received a large electric shock requiring immediate medical treatment.

Similar incidents have been reported at aged, disability and residential care facilities where electric beds are commonly in use.

The alert recommended a number of ways to control risks, and suggested duty holders should:

  • Develop a system of work where power cords are stowed whilst transferring patients
  • Develop a system for the visual inspection of electric bed power cords prior to bed movements
  • Purchase electric beds with power cords that are elevated off the floor, coiled or retractable.
  • Retrofit cable clips to the underside of the bed frame to enable cords to be lifted off the ground while transporting patients on beds
  • Develop a system for the regular testing and tagging of electric bed power cords
  • Review the location of power outlets to ensure that they are at a suitable height off the floor so that power cords are not located near bed wheels.