We are often asked about the use and benefits or Isolated Power Systems in place of Ground Fault Circuit Protectors in Operating Rooms. There are several things to keep in mind:

  • This is a grey area for many hospitals and the codes that govern them. The grey area comes down to whether or not a hospital defines its OR as a wet location. Old-school surgeons think they need it, but the current school of thought is that only Heart and Ortho ORs need Isolated Power. Ortho will usually claim they irrigate the hips and knees with so much solution that the OR should be considered a wet location. Isolated Power Systems are not common in general Operating Rooms.
  • Safety is really the only pro.
  • Cons include cost and ongoing maintenance. Isolated Power Systems can range from $8,000–20,000, but more typically between $12,000–15,000 per OR. Hospital Maintenance staff typically dreads Isolated power systems … they are troublesome systems to maintain and test. The systems measure electricity leakage, which is typical along any circuit. As leakage increases over time, the panel goes into alarm, requiring testing and resetting.
  • Some states require Isolated Power Systems, so there is no grey area. Most states do not.

Close coordination with the construction team, the design team, users, and hospital facility staff can help you navigate the grey areas and determine if you need an Isolated Power System.