STERIS discusses the importance of environmental monitoring of sterilant vapors in the SPD
STERIS Corporation, a major manufacturer of low-temperature sterilizers, wrote a new CHL Self-Study Lesson Plan in the January/February issue of Communique on pg. 27 titled, “Safety in Central Service: Management Responsibility”. In this lesson plan they review three different learning objectives including:
- Identify safety resources that support leadership and management responsibility in the Central Service department
- Review three common workplace hazards: chemical/sterilant inhalation, skin contact, and eye contact
- Explain the importance of maintaining a safe work environment within the Central Service department
STERIS states, “Employee safety should be a priority with every process carried out in the department. Staff understanding and competence as it pertains to risks associated with chemical and/or sterilant inhalation, skin contact and eye contact can help prevent unnecessary injury.” Since many chemicals used in the sterile processing department are unable to be smelt at dangerous levels, it is incredibly important to continuously monitor for these vapors in the air. “Personal monitoring should never be taken for granted and employees must understand that 24/7 environmental monitoring is not always enough. Sometimes, a combination of personal and environmental monitoring will meet and even exceed current regulatory requirements; however, it is equally important that the departmental staff also feel their safety needs are being met.”
24/7 environmental monitoring (like the ChemDAQ Steri-Trac system) is the best way to protect your personnel in the SPD. It is ideal for monitoring the air in any area where leaks could occur (ex: above a sterilizer door, near exhaust systems, in chemical storage cabinets, etc…). If you are monitoring all the potential sources of leaks continuously, there is no need for personal monitoring as you will know at all times what levels of vapors are present. If badges are used for personal monitoring, it should be considered that they only give retrospective results, and using these alone will not protect you or your staff from an unexpected leak of sterilant vapors.
Contact ChemDAQ today for a free proposal or to schedule a free safety evaluation at your facility!