Q: All of our receptacles in patient care rooms are hospital grade and therefore do not have to be tested annually, correct? What I don’t understand is section 126.96.36.199.2 of NFPA 99-2012, which states additional testing of hospital-grade receptacles in patient rooms shall be performed at intervals defined by document performance data. What is document performance data? How do I determine my testing intervals by document performance data?
A: You are correct: Hospital-grade receptacles are not required to be tested annually, but they are required to be tested at intervals determined by the healthcare facility. This is what the NFPA 99-2012 Handbook says about maintenance and testing of electrical receptacles under section 188.8.131.52 of NFPA 99-2012:
NFPA 99 prescribes no time between test intervals for hospital-grade receptacles. Hospital facility managers are permitted to determine appropriate test intervals for hospital-grade receptacles based on ‘documented performance data’. However, this paragraph requires that all non-hospital-grade receptacles within patient bed locations and anesthetizing locations must be tested at least every 12-months. This immediately raises the following question” “What is documented performance data?” There are two possible kinds of data that could meet this requirement. First, the manufacturer could provide data of this sort. Second, experiential data from other hospitals that have used similar devices and documented their failure rates could provide the kind of indication needed for appropriate testing intervals.
So, section 184.108.40.206.2 of NFPA 99-2012 does say additional testing of hospital-grade receptacles in patient care rooms shall be performed at intervals defined by the hospital using information that provides evidence that supports the testing interval decision. This information may come from the manufacturer, or it may come from your own experiences in testing these receptacles. According to NFPA 99-2012, you do not have to test hospital-grade receptacles annually that are located in patient rooms and anesthetizing locations, but you do have to determine what the testing frequency of these receptacles will be based ‘documented performance data’.
The testing requirements that you will need to do is found in NFPA 99-2012, section 220.127.116.11, and is summarized here:
- The physical integrity of each receptacle shall be confirmed by visual inspection
- The continuity of the grounding circuit in each electrical receptacle shall be verified
- The correct polarity of the hot and neutral connections in each electrical receptacle shall be confirmed
- The retention force of the grounding blade of each electrical receptacle (except locking-type receptacles) shall be not less that 4 oz (115 g).