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ELECTRICAL RESILIENCE


Ensuring the best UPS system performance


Alex Emms, Operations director at Kohler Uninterruptible Power, highlights some of the key priorities for healthcare engineering teams to consider to ensure that hospitals and other healthcare facilities have safe, efficient, and compliant UPS systems.


One topic of universal concern that has been created by the COVID-19 pandemic is the pressure being felt by healthcare staff of all disciplines. While risking their own safety and working in demanding conditions, they also have the constant worry of being overwhelmed if admission rates increase exponentially. Power problems can occur anywhere, anytime, in any electrical system, regardless of the design standards employed. Accordingly, it may be tempting to build in the highest possible resilience across an entire healthcare estate to avoid any risk to patient safety or business continuity arising from a power loss. However, real- world budgetary or space constraints typically make this approach unrealistic. In developing or reviewing policies to support critical life-supporting equipment, and other less obviously critical, yet still essential, equipment, healthcare estate managers should


consider the guidelines set out in the Department of Health’s Health Technical Memorandum (HTM) 06-01 guidance, Electrical Services supply and distribution document. It details how to design in solutions that carefully balance each area’s critical resiliency needs against costs.


HTM 06-01 in more detail HTM 06-01 is a component of the Government’s Health Technical Memoranda, which provide


comprehensive advice and guidance on the specialised building and engineering technology used in healthcare delivery. The design process should verify that single points of failure leading to loss of electricity supply are minimised by providing the appropriate level of resilience at the point of use. HTM 06-01 defines three power supplies for use across a healthcare estate: primary,


typically from the energy supply company – this is supplemented by a secondary supply, such as a generator or batteries, and tertiary power supply, in the form of a UPS or battery system, which constitutes a further supplement. The HTM considers two aspects of risk arising from a power outage: n Clinical risk (subdivided into patient and non-patient areas); Clinical risk grading is from E (Lowest) to A (highest).


n Non-clinical business continuity risks (subdivided into medical services and engineering services). Gradings are from IV (Lowest) to I (Highest).


Risk grade A – The ICU


The ICUs coming under pressure today are classified as ‘Risk grade A’ – the highest – covering life support, operating theatre suites, catheterising rooms, A&E resuscitation units, MRI, and other critical facilities. Where supply disconnection represents a threat to life, an alternative source such as a UPS must be available within 0.5 s, or as a no-break supply if critical medical electrical (ME) equipment will not continue to function without a reset after a 0.5 s break.


Other engineering services that support clinical treatment should be connected to the secondary supply within 15 s of any electrical supply interruptions. Overall, HTM 06-01’s view is that: ‘The required system resilience can be achieved in two basic ways: first, by having an alternative power supply, and, second, by having alternative distribution cables and/or routes; both may be engaged by automatic changeover with manual bypass.’


An effective, reliable, and high-performing UPS system is key to the safe and uninterrupted operation of a broad spectrum of hospital activities and services.


54 Health Estate Journal September 2020


Battery care is essential HTM 06-01 covers UPS batteries, and favours Valve Regulated Lead Acid (VRLA) types. Being virtually zero- gassing, they present a lower environmental hazard to the UPS and its surrounding area. They are low- maintenance items with reduced requirements for vented gas extraction. Although these batteries will function for


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