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Legal Speak

Electrical Hazards

Published March 25, 2011 2:31 PM by Tony DeWitt
One of the reasons that new parents buy electrical outlet covers is because they know that children are apt to put their fingers in places they should not. The same can be said for demented patients, and recently a New York facility was cited by the state for failure to secure its electrical lockboxes.

The facility in Albany County, New York, failed to secure its electrical control boxes containing high-voltage switches. The state found that the failure to lock patients out of these areas put those patients in "immediate jeopardy."

Most electrical control boxes have locking hasps that are used to secure the boxes against unauthorized access. Similarly, when placed together with other electrical components, these electrical facilities normally have high-voltage warning signs and some form of external security (dead-bolt locking, for example).

If a demented resident were to come into contact with high voltage energy the result could be disastrous not only for the resident but for anyone who came to his aid. An employee might also be electrocuted if she touched a person in contact with high-voltage current.

If it is not a regular part of the shift protocol, checking the locked status of electrical control rooms and electrical junction boxes should be.

posted by Tony DeWitt
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About this Blog


    A.L. "Tony" DeWitt, RRT, CRT, JD, FAARC
    Occupation: Attorney
    Setting: Jefferson City, Mo.
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