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One example of special healthcare requirements is Section 517.13, which dictates special grounding requirements for patient care areas. ("Patient care area" is defined in Section 517.2 and includes patient beds in hospitals and nursing homes as well as examining rooms in medical and dental offices.)
First, a patient care area must have a wiring method that provides an equipment grounding conductor, and therefore an effective ground-fault current path. Section 517.13 requires the use of a metal raceway system or cable with metallic armor that satisfies the requirements for grounding.
In addition, a second equipment grounding conductor – in the form of an insulated copper conductor – must be used to ground all receptacles, metal boxes, enclosures and any non-current carrying conductive surfaces that are subject to personnel contact.
The purpose of these two equipment grounding methods is to make absolutely certain that there is no significant voltage difference between any two pieces of equipment in the patient care area. This requirement significantly restricts the choices of wiring methods that can be used in the branch circuits that go into these patient care areas.
© Hughes Associates,Inc. 2012