Medical scale servicing: What happens if you don't have a scale serviced?

Medical scale servicing: What happens if you don't have a scale serviced?An accurate weight reading is pivotal in every weighing setting. In the medical sector, accurate weight readings can help save lives - hence the advice by LACORS that all medical scales must be serviced.

As is the case with many technology products, the performance of weighing scales may change over a long period of time - but an annual scale servicing can help.

Cllr Geoffrey Theobald OBE, Chairman of LACORS, said: “An inaccurate petrol pump or supermarket scale isn’t exactly a matter of life or death, but getting an accurate, consistent weight reading for a hospital patient could be.

“When you consider why a patient would be weighed - to calculate dosage for medication, anaesthetic or even radiation - you realise the importance of getting weight right.”

What happens over time to your scale?

Weighing scales within medical environments are typically serviced every 12 months, and this is to primarily ensure two things: safety and accuracy.

Over-use: If the scale is used regularly it may become worn out - causing, over an extended period of time, a change to the reading. Naturally, if the scale is used more often, a breakage is more likely to occur.

For example, chair scales have many parts that can become loose after extended use - like armrests and footrests. During a scale service visit, these will be checked, tightened and repaired if necessary.

Scales that are regularly moved, such as from room to room, or in a car boot from patient to patient, will also need to be fully checked. Regular movement and use over time will put added pressure on moving or removable parts and fixings.

Many column scales are fitted with height measures, which also need to be checked for reliability, and that they can be used to get an accurate height reading safely.

Changes to the scale’s environment: Using in the environment and country in which the scale has been calibrated for will ensure its best performance. Scale calibrations can be country-specific, so will be calibrated differently in the UK compared to, for example, Australia.

Natural causes: In fact, any scale can drift away slightly from its original calibration over time - even when handling with care - which is why a recalibration service is essential.

How can you tell when your scale needs recalibrating?

It’s hard to tell exactly when a scale is due a service, and this is why the vast majority of hospitals, GP surgeries and health visitors have their medical scales serviced every 12 months. Some ways you may be able to tell if a service is due, however, are:

Zero reading: The weight display must show zero when there is no weight on the scale - if not, you may need to book a service visit.

Checking a known weight: When a known weight is applied, the indicator must display the exact amount of applied weight. You may alternatively be able to check weight readings against another Class III Approved scale with the same capacity and graduations, although this may not be a guaranteed confirmation of whether a scale needs recalibrating or not.

Loose fittings: You may notice that some parts feel loser. Even the highest quality scales will be affected by prolonged, regular use, which is why regular scale servicing is so important.

How, when and why the scale is used affects the need for regular calibration. Consider: how hostile the environment is, how much the scale is being used and the outcome incorrect readings will have on your processes.

A Marsden service contract

You can contact Marsden whenever you have an issue with the accuracy of your scale - or you can sign up for a scale servicing visit at the point of order.

With a service visit, our talented team of engineers will test all of your weighing equipment in one visit - ensure the standards of the UK Weighing Federation Calibration Code of Practice is met. When testing the scale, Marsden use M1 certified test weights to guarantee an accurate performance.

For more information about scale servicing, call 01709 364296 or email service@marsdengroup.co.uk. To apply for a service contract, click here.

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