ELECTRICAL AND MECHANICAL HAZARDS

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Electrical and mechanical hazards are important factors in the hazards evaluation because they have potentials to cause injuries or even death. But by taking general precautions such as using appropriate protective equipment and emphasizing on routine safety, these hazards can be minimized.

Electrical Hazards

Electrical Hazards are mainly caused by electrical failure or malfunction of an electrical equipment. Examples of the electrical hazards are electrical shock and electrical fire. These hazards can be minimized by installing emergency power switches where there are electrical equipment.

Causes of electrical hazards includes:

High voltage equipment

  • High voltage equipment have the following potential risks:
  • If polarized capacitors are incorrectly connected into a circuit they can explode.
  • Capacitors that build up and store current can discharge on contact, generating a powerful shock.
  • Tesla corns can cause severe skin burns.
  • Electrostatic generators can also cause shocks.
  • These potential risks can be minimized by:
  • Ensuring high voltage equipment are handled under extreme care.
  • Ensuring that an electrical equipment is in good working condition before being used.
  • In cause of any fault, only a qualified personnel should repair it.

Faulty wiring

  • Faulty wiring such as loose or broken connections will eventually create a short circuit, electrical shock or even fire. These risks can be minimized by:
  • Ensuring that an equipment is in good working condition before use.
  • Inspecting external wiring of an equipment before use.
  • Ensuring that the ground prong is still attached on an extension plug or on the electrical equipment.
  • Ensuring that one holds the plug’s end when disconnecting a power cord.

Overheating

Overheating can be as a result of using lightweight equipment on a heavy-duty usage or prolonged usage of an equipment at higher power rating than the predesigned rates. This can lead to damage of the equipment or even fire. It can be minimized by always using the equipment as to the predesigned settings.

Using an electrical equipment near water

Using an electrical equipment near water creates a potential of electrical shock if water gets into the electrical system. It can also lead to malfunctioning or failure of the equipment. These risks can be minimized by:

  • Ensuring that equipment used near water sources are insulated and grounded.
  • Use of ground-fault interrupter (GFI) plugs where possible.
  • Switch current off from the socket or unplug the equipment immediately if water gets into it and do not use it again until completely dry.

Using an electrical equipment near flammable substances: When an electrical equipment is operated near flammable substances and under poor ventilated conditions, the ends of an electrical motor can generate sparks which can ignite the flammable substances. This risk can be minimized by ensuring that the electrical equipment is used in properly ventilated areas away from flammable substances.

Power fluctuations: Power fluctuations may cause variations in linear accelerators’ output leading to under or over dosage to the patient. 

Mechanical Hazards: Mechanical hazards are mainly caused by malfunction of an equipment. The hazard can lead to serious injuries or even death. These risks can be minimized by ensuring that equipment is on good working condition before using it. Mechanical Hazards in radiotherapy can be caused by:

  • Opening of the MLCs other than the prescribed one will lead to exposure of radiation to the wrong body parts.
  • Malfunction or failure of the dose monitoring chambers will lead to potential hazards.
  • Tip of SSD scale not being sharp edged will lead to wrong values which can lead to potential hazards
  • Loose external accessory may fall on a patient and cause injuries or death.
  • Absence of radiation field and optical field will lead to potential hazard.
  • Malfunction or failure of treatment room monitor or control console may read to different readings which may lead to potential hazard.
  • Improper accessory mounting leads to wrong treatment.

 

References

Science and Safety. Physical Hazards. Retrieved from www.edu.gov.mb.ca on 17/1/2019.

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