Autoclave Use

UMB’s Autoclaves must be maintained on a quality control program as listed below:

Effective quality assurance includes:

  • Using chemical and biological indicators to check autoclave operation 
  • Selecting appropriate containers to hold waste while being decontaminated
  • Using effective decontamination processing times for each cycle 
  • Maintaining proper autoclave use records
  • Providing odor control when necessary
  • Providing personnel training for the operation of an autoclave.

Personal protection equipment (PPE) such as rubberized aprons, full-face shields and heat- and liquid- resistant gloves must be worn when operating autoclaves. Each appropriately packaged item in a load must be placed so that steam penetrates into and among all materials to be decontaminated. Tightly sealed or stoppered materials may not be effectively decontaminated and may become dangerously pressurized causing injury when removed. Routine physical controls such as pressure gauges and thermometers are to be considered secondary methods of ensuring a sterilization cycle. Regular monitoring of temperature and monthly biological monitoring under a standard cycle must be performed and recorded.