A few months ago, there was a scare in Oklahoma where over 7,000 patients had to be tested for HIV and Hepatitis due to improper sterilization procedures at a dental clinic (http://www.nypost.com). Thankfully, events like these are rare, but it really shows the importance of following an effective sterilization procedure.
Terrible events like these may leave you asking yourself, “How do I know my sterilizer works?” We understand how important this question is to you.
If you’re a doctor, dentist, laboratory technician or even a tattoo artist, you want to maintain a safe work environment. When dealing with potentially hazardous biological substances, you want to be sure that your sterilization procedures are effective.
We know that patient safety is your number one priority. Fortunately, maintaining a clean and safe working environment is not difficult. Here we have gathered answers to frequently asked questions about sterilizers and workplace safety to help put your mind at ease.
How Do I Know My Sterilizer Works?
The only way to be sure that your sterilizer is working properly is to test it. It’s a simple procedure, you just place a paper filter strip inside the sterilizer and allow it to incubate. The results will let you know if your sterilizer is working.
At the minimum, you should test your sterilizer monthly, but weekly testing is also common. Additionally, you should test your sterilizer under the following conditions:
- When a new material is used.
- After training new employees.
- After the sterilizer has been repaired.
- After any changes in the sterilization procedure.
Should I Keep Written Records?
Yes, you should keep records for FDA compliance purposes and to legally protect yourself. Keep your records in a log sheet that includes the date, duration of the cycle, maximum temperature, the operator’s initials, and the results of the test. Keep these records as long as your keep client records.
Should I Develop Written Sterilization Procedures?
Absolutely! Guidelines will help you maintain a safe working environment. Remember, it all comes down to patient safety. Your staff and patients are counting on your to keep them safe. Written procedures will ensure clarity and help you train new employees to work safely and effectively.
How Can I Develop Effective Sterilization Best Practices?
Review the draft guidance by the FDA and the guidelines from the CDC for recommendations. When developing your in-house guidelines, try to get input from as many sources as possible during the review period. Be sure to review the FDA and CDC guidelines regularly and update your procedures as necessary.
What If I Need More Information?
Hopefully we’ve thoroughly answered the question, “How do I know my sterilizer works?” and so much more. If you’d like to know more about sterilizers check out our article about the history of sterilization equipment.
If you still have questions, know that Sterilizers.com is the one stop resource for all your sterilization needs. We sell, repair, and provide parts for all kinds of sterilizers. We have the most experience in the country and can answer all of your questions.
Interested in learning more? Call 1-877-789-9983 to speak to one of our representatives today!