Many different industries use autoclaves including doctors, dentists, laboratories, tattooists and veterinarians. While autoclaves keep us safe from infection, they can be dangerous if used incorrectly. This blog contains only general autoclave information, so before using your autoclave, it’s vital that you read the manufacturer’s manual because each used sterilizer has unique features.
Here are 10 safety tips for your steam autoclave:
1. Check that your door closing mechanism and hinge does not show signs of wear or looseness before closing the door.
2. Upon closing the door double check to be sure it is completely closed. Most modern autoclaves won’t run unless locked, but it’s always best to check yourself.
3. Do not touch the autoclave while it’s running. Even though most modern autoclaves have a built in shield to protect while others do not have it at all or it was removed. The device’s high temperatures can create severe burns if it is touched while running or still hot.
4. Always wear heat resistant gloves when removing materials after they have been sterilized and avoid touching the hot autoclave’s inner chamber.
5. Just as you should avoid touching a hot autoclave, you should also keep combustible objects like cardboard away from the sterilization equipment.
6. Never place a closed container of liquids in an autoclave. It will explode and damage the container as well as the autoclave.
7. When sterilizing bags and/or pouches, be sure they do not touch the sides or bottom of the chamber as this could allow the sterilizer to overheat and potentially create a fire hazard.
8. Wait five or ten minutes between running cycles. Back to back cycles can cause overheating.
9. If the sterilizer displays an error or smells like it is burning, unplug it and refer to the operator’s manual on how to proceed.
10. Staying alert throughout the entire process is the most important safety tip. Even after you remove the load, the contents will remain hot. Be sure adequate time has passed before touching with your bare hands.
It’s important to regularly test your used autoclave to ensure it is safe to run. Spore test strips are commonly utilized in a load to see if the autoclave can effectively kill microorganisms. If your autoclave needs spore testing or maintenance, look no further than Duraline Systems for all of your sterilization needs.