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Second Semester 
Teaching style
Lingua Insegnamento

Informazioni aggiuntive

Course Curriculum CFU Length(h)
[70/75]  BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERING [75/00 - Ord. 2017]  PERCORSO COMUNE 5 50


The course aims to provide basic electrical safety principles. Emphasis is on the electrical hazards in health care facilities. The course refers to the national and international regulations and technical requirements in the field of safety of persons and hospital patients against electricity-related hazards. The educational goal is to provide the design criteria of electrical installations and the guidance to use the electrical equipment safely, with particular reference for those that supply health care facilities and hospitals. The course contents contribute to the student skills in biomedical engineering, with direct application in the workplace and their advancement in studies (e.g., in clinical engineering). A strong technological contribution will necessarily characterize the ambits in which the future biomedical engineer will be operating. With the skills acquired during the course, the student will be able to assess the risk associated with electricity use, identify the hazard situations, and safely handle all the technologies he will be in contact with.
Concerning the Dublin descriptors, the educational objectives and expected outcomes of the course are summarized as follows.
A – Knowledge and understanding – At the end of the course, it is expected that students reach:
 Adequate understanding of electricity-related hazards related to the ordinary use of electricity and, in particular, the evaluation of the additional electric risk in the health care facilities and hospitals.
 Deep knowledge of the theoretical and practical issues related to electrical safety within low voltage installations.
B –Applying knowledge and understanding – At the end of the course, it is expected that students are able to:
 Design and manage electrical installations in ordinary locations and health care facilities, ensuring safety for operators and people unaware of the electricity-related hazards (e.g., patients).
C – Making judgements - At the end of the course, it is expected that students are able to autonomously:
 Evaluate the safety of existing electrical systems based on the analysis of the characteristics of their components and practical field tests.
 Verify the compliance with current regulations of electrical systems in health care facilities and hospitals and of the electro-medical instrumentation supplied by them.
D – Communication - At the end of the course, it is expected that students have acquired a proper skill to communicate technical information, both in speech and in writing, and to discuss problems and solutions with specialists and non-specialists.
E – Lifelong learning skills - At the end of the course, students are expected to reach an adequate level of knowledge, understanding and autonomy of judgment, and sufficient skill of continuous learning, based on the good and correct interpretation of technical and scientific literature, standards and regulations.


Prerequisites enforced by the course of study (III year): Physics II and Mathematics.
Furthermore, a basic knowledge of electrotechnical and circuit theory and analysis is fundamental.


Introduction to the course: Description of electrical power systems. Brief recalls of fundamentals of Electrotechnics and electrical installations.
National and international regulations and standards on electrical safety: The compliance with standards. National and International Committees for electrical standardization. Italian Electrotechnical Committee (CEI) standards, workmanlike manner, and laws.
General principles on safety: Safety and risk assessment. Reliability and safety. Acceptable level of risk and its definition. Undue risk and human error.
Design Criteria for electrical installations: Power systems classifications. Low-voltage electrical installations. Type of wiring and methods of installation. Sizing and protection of conductors. Overcurrents and short circuits. Protection against overcurrent and fault currents. Switching and protection devices. Circuit breakers and fuses for low voltage. Residual-current devices.
Electrical safety: Physiological Effects of electricity on the human body. Human body electrical resistance. Threshold and safety curves for alternating ad direct currents and voltages.
Electrical grounding: System grounding requirements. Design and verification of grounding.
Direct and indirect contacts: Definitions. Protection against direct contacts.
Protection against indirect contacts with automatic disconnection of the power supply: Protection against indirect contacts in grounded and ungrounded systems (TT, TN and IT systems). Protection against indirect contacts in MV and HV.
Protection against indirect contact without automatic disconnection of the power supply: Appliance classification of insulation. Class II appliance. Electrical separation. Non-conducting location. Other measures.
Extra-low voltage systems: Types of extra-low-voltage systems: safety, protection and functional extra-low voltage (SELV, PELV, and FELV). Class III appliance.
Electrical safety in health care facilities: Electrical hazard in medical environments. General requirements for electrical safety in health care facilities. Fundamental rules of protection against electric shock. Macroshock and Microshock. Definition and classification of applied parts of medical electrical equipment. Classification of medical locations. Design criteria for electrical installations in medical environments. System grounding in group 2 location. Leakage currents in normal and single fault conditions. Electrical hazard using electrosurgery. Test and verifications for electrical installations in medical locations. Initial and periodic verifications for medical electrical equipment.
Emergency supply: Reserve and safety. Backup power sources and schemes of installations. Emergency lighting. Requirements for the continuity of power supply in medical locations.

Teaching Methods

The course is based on a traditional teaching approach: lecturers (about 40 hours), dimensioning and measurement exercises and technical visits (up to 10 hours).
Due to the evolution of the COVID-19 emergency condition and according to the Manifesto Generale degli Studi, the course will be provided probably both in presence and online. Since the laws and the rules of the University are constantly changing, the details will be published before the beginning of the course.
Furthermore, specific initiatives could be proposed. Such initiatives will allow the students to visit real electrical installations or attend to real electrical systems measurements. For example, during the course, students could visit the MV/LV secondary substation of the faculty of Engineering of the University of Cagliari as an example of the electrical interface between the public grid and private electrical systems, similar to those present in small or medium-sized hospitals. Furthermore, the students could be supported to measure the resistance of a real grounding system or other measures on low voltage systems.
During the front lessons, the teacher will use slides that will be provided immediately after the lecture. During the exercises, practical cases of circuit design and choice of protections will be proposed to the students.
Exercises will take place in the classroom during the course with the support of the teacher and/or a tutor. The student will be asked to perform calculations, make technical choices and motivate them, and explain the methods and techniques to solve the exercises.

Verification of learning

The exam may consist of one written intermediate and an oral test on the topics of the course. Alternatively, one oral test only can be taken.
Due to the COVID-19 emergency, and according to the rules imposed by the University, the exams could also be virtual in the Microsoft Team environment. The public class, where the exam session is held, is easily accessible by looking for the Team through the title "Esami Sicurezza Elettrica del Paziente In Ospedale". At each call, an ad hoc channel will be created that will host the meeting. Subscribers will receive an invitation to the event. Anyone interested can attend the exam by participating in the public meeting.


Reference books:
-V. Carrescia Fondamenti di Sicurezza Elettrica (Nuova Edizione) – Ed. TNE
-V. Cataliotti: Impianti Elettrici. Vol. II. and III Ed Flaccovio
Italian and European standards: Norma CEI 64-8/7, Norma CEI 64-18 (IEC 60479-1), Norma CEI EN 60601, Norma CEI EN 62353

More Information

All teaching materials and the slides of the lectures will be provided through the teacher's personal page at the link "Teaching Materials" ("Materiale didattico"). The reference books and standards are indispensable to complete the learning.

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