Bearing the load: What to consider when installing ceiling-mounted equipment

por Lisa Chamoff, Contributing Reporter | August 31, 2016
Parts And Service

“In the ER, you don’t want anything sitting there to shake loose and cause a problem,” Romocki says. While ceiling-mounted equipment comes with a risk, there generally is no difference in liability or insurance from ceiling-mounted versus floor-mounted systems, says Gintoft of GE. “There should be no difference. However, owners should review appropriate insurance for their facility,” Gintoft says.

Testing the load
Making sure ceiling tracks and lifts can handle their maximum weight is important. In Canada, the Lifts Act requires any device “below the hook” to be designed and certified by a professional engineer. Seeing a need, Health Association Nova Scotia, a non-profit, membership-based service association for a variety of health and health-related organizations, developed a system for testing overhead tracks and lifts that help staff move patients, primarily in long-term weights and up to six 150-pound weights, dubbed pumpkin weights for their shape, can test a load of up to 1,250 pounds. The design of the system ensures that the person doing the testing isn’t lifting more than 30 pounds at a time.

“The original test was for patient-lifting devices,” says Phil Bradfield, Health Association Nova Scotia’s technical support and development officer. “It could be used in any scenario where you need to load-test something — an OR boom, an X-ray boom.” Bradfield has about 10 of the systems in use within the facilities they service, and the organization has been testing more than 4,000 ceiling tracks, lifts and floor lifts annually. It has recently begun to see a demand from other clinical engineering and facility departments, and is marketing and selling the system — carts with 1,000 pounds cost in the $7,500 range — with the funds used to reduce the cost of the organization’s membership fees.

“When the demand surfaced, we thought it was a good opportunity to offset the costs to our members,” Bradfield says. “Initially, it was not intended to be a product that we sold. Knowing what was not out there, we realized other people could see the benefits as well.”

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