Victorian Dental Chairs Wrapped In Red Tape
15th Mar 17
Victorian government regulations that impose unnecessary compliance obligations on dental chair installers are being reviewed by industry with the view of cutting the costs for dental practices without compromising patient safety.
Key Issues For The Dental Industry —
An reinterpretation by Energy Safe Victoria (ESV) of the Electrical Safety Act (Vic) 1998 and subordinate regulations associated with the installation of electrical equipment in patient areas has resulted in a mandated requirement that once installed dental chairs require inspection by a Licensed Electrical Inspector prior to being connected to the electrical supply. Advice available to the Australian Dental Industry Association (ADIA) is that this requirement only exists in Victoria and is not warranted from a risk perspective.
ESV has stated that the need for dental chair installations to be inspected by a government-accredited inspector rests in the AS/NZS 3000: Wiring rules. This sets out the need for electrical installations within patient treatment areas to comply with the requirements of AS/NZS 3003: Electrical Installation - Patient areas. It is to validate compliance with the latter that ESV has put in place the requirement for installations to be inspected.
The challenge is that the installation requirement is not justified from a risk-management perspective given the Australian Government's mandated regulatory standards associated with the supply of medical devices. Under the Therapeutic Goods Act (Cth) 1989 and its subordinate legislation, a dental chair (as a Class i medical device) must not compromise the clinical condition or safety of a patient, or the safety and health of the user of any other person, when the device is used on a patient under the conditions and for the purposes for which the device was intended. In parallel, there is a legal requirement for dental chair suppliers to ensure their equipment meets the standards set out in AS/NZS 3820: Essential safety requirements for electrical equipment.
Member businesses, convening under the ADIA Reference Group - Victorian Dental Chair Installation, are actively reviewing the issue with a view to assisting ESV revising its regulatory standard to ease the compliance burden which results in higher costs for dental practices purchasing new dental chairs. Businesses interested in this work are encouraged to get involved in the reference group reference group and for information visit the following links:
The current work of the ADIA Victorian Branch involves developing an in-depth understanding of ESV's legal framework including the relationship between the regulations, relevant Australian Standards and the inspection requirements. A second phase of the ADIA Victorian Branch's activity is to review ESV's safety concerns with dental chair installation to identify any actual and / or perceived deficiencies which warrants the additional compliance burden.
There is a strong argument that ESV's regulatory requirement for dental chair installations to be inspected is unwarranted and serves only to create additional red tape and compliance costs for business. This is important in the context of the Victorian Government's commitment to leadership in regulatory reform and red tape reduction to enhance the productivity and competitiveness of the Victorian economy. The Victorian Government has stated that although regulation is an important tool in achieving the government's policy objectives, ensuring that no unnecessary burden is imposed on businesses and not-for-profit organisations is a key priority for the Victorian Government. This provides a strong platform from which the ADIA Victorian Branch can argue for reform in this area.
If your business is involved in the installation of dental chairs in Victoria, get involved in the ADIA Reference Group - Victorian Dental Chair Installation today.
Member Engagement —
ADIA provides leadership, strategy, advocacy and support. Members interested in this topic participate in the ADIA Reference Group - Victorian Dental Chair Installation and regular updates are provided at the quarterly series of the ADIA Victorian Branch.
Further Information —
For further information for ADIA's activities to support women take up leadership positions, contact ADIA via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone on 1300 943 094. To keep up to date on all that's happening at ADIA, follow ADIA on Facebook at www.facebook.com/dental.industry or subscribe to the Twitter feed @AusDental.
Currency Of Information & Disclaimer —
This update was issued on 15 March 2017 and please note that changes in circumstances after the publication of material or information may impact upon its accuracy and also change regulatory compliance obligations. The statements, regulatory and technical information contained herein are believed to be accurate and are provided for information purposes only. Readers are responsible for assessing its relevance and verifying the accuracy of the content. To the fullest extent permitted by law, ADIA will not be liable for any loss, damage, cost or expense incurred in relation to or arising as a result of relying on the information presented here.
This publication is available for your use under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia licence, with the exception of the ADIA logo, images and where stated.
29th Jun 18
As a result of lengthy negotiations in Parliament House the Australian Government will work with ADIA to monitor how the new medical devices fee will be implemented in order to reduce the dental industry's compliance costs.
24th Jan 18
Proposed legislative amendments that provide the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) with stronger compliance and enforcement powers and graduated penalties for non-compliant behaviours has been endorsed by the dental industry.