Tamper-Resistant Receptacles

Q: My question involves childproof outlets in healthcare. Where are they required and where in the code does it discuss not using snap-in covers?

A: According to NFPA 70-2011, Article 517.18(C), tamper-resistant receptacles are required in pediatric locations of health care facilities (i.e. hospitals, physician offices, therapy areas, etc.) including patient rooms, bathrooms, playrooms, activity rooms, and patient care areas of designated pediatric locations. As an option, the receptacle may use a listed tamper-resistant cover. The listing would have to be from an independent testing laboratory, such as UL, ETL, or the like. In essence, wherever an unattended child could be, you would have to have tamper-resistant receptacles.


UL Label vs. an ETL Label

Q: While I realize that the UL label is accepted by most all AHJs, what about the ETL label from Intertek? Recently I had a fan purchased by a member of our facility with the ETL label and no UL label. I researched the ETL label and found that it met the requirements of NFPA 70 and allowed the use of the appliance. In your opinion do you think that CMS, our accreditation organization, and the state fire marshal would have a problem with my opinion?

A: Surveyors who work for accreditation organizations, state agencies, fire marshals, etc., are human and respond differently to things they have never observed before. It is likely that they would question an ETL label if they are not familiar with it. The open-minded surveyors would typically ask questions and then accept the ETL label realizing that the NFPA standards do not require a specific label from UL, but a label indicating the product is listed by an independent testing laboratory. The close-minded and poorly trained surveyors may reject a label that is not UL, not fully understanding that the ETL label meets the requirements.

If you get a surveyor who will not accept a label other than one provided by UL, then I believe you have a good case to appeal any finding cited by that individual.