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More Spa Machine Safety
By: Christine Heathman
Posted: June 27, 2008, from the July 2008 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
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As health care technology has evolved throughout the years, however, a number of questions have arisen about what specifics should be part of NFPA 99. Moreover, are the standards still relevant to the way health care is performed today, and do the criteria meant to reduce risk still accomplish that goal?
"Medical equipment is built so much better now, and there has been a shift from electromechanical to purely electronic equipment," says Thomas Schipper, CCE, FASHE, national senior consultant, Environment of Care for Kaiser Permanente in Pasadena, California. "Technology has changed, manufacturing of this type of equipment has changed, and that has caused certain standards to become obsolete."
The AS3551 is for medical electrical appliances tested for electrical safety and performance verification. These safety-only tests involve a check on the physical condition of the machine to ensure there is no risk of harm to patients or operators. The testing requirements for medical electrical appliances under AS3551 are more stringent and extensive than for appliances in general use.
There is also a requirement that measurements observed during testing are documented, and that satisfactory performance of the device be verified. General appliance testing is insufficient for fulfilling the obligations for medical practices.
This is an Australian standard that has been covered by the United States’ EN60601-1-2 test, and several other tests, for quite some time. And on a similar note, many European Union and Canadian standards have been covered since 2001.