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Safe Use of Autoclaves

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  • Safe Use of Autoclaves

    Why autoclave?
    • The purpose of autoclaving materials is to render them sterile of any living organisms utilizing hot pressurized steam (270˚F & 30 lbs/in2), which presents serious burn hazards. Because the conditions within autoclaves are so extreme, the chance for malfunction is high if not properly operated and maintained.
    • Each autoclave has unique characteristics, therefore it is important for users to review and understand the operator’s manual and/or receive training prior to use. The maintenance of an autoclave is an important aspect of autoclave safety. A properly working autoclave will help ensure safety measures in place will protect workers from injury or exposure.
    • Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for a preventative maintenance schedule and make sure that the maintenance personnel who repair/troubleshoot the autoclave are approved to work on the equipment. A preventative maintenance program should include efficiency testing to ensure the autoclave is functioning properly. A typical efficiency test is the use of a biological indicator (e.g. Bacillus spore test, or sterilization indicator strips), which must be verified per manufacturer’s specification. Records for efficiency testing are to be maintained for periodic review by OEH&S. If an autoclave fails a maintenance inspection, it must be placed out of service immediately and users should be verbally and visually informed. An “OUT OF ORDER” sign should be posted on/near the equipment. (continue reading- click link below)

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