The exposure hazards of poor equipment maintenance in the SPD

Ever think about exposure hazards from improperly maintained low-temperature sterilizers or high-level disinfectant equipment?

Ethylene Oxide Worker Genesis 011 Hydrogen Peroxide 2 workers

Some things to think about:

  1. How does instrument maintenance contribute to worker safety in the CS/SPD? Tell me about the risk of improper maintenance and leakage of unsafe vapors?

Modern sterilizers are made to exacting standards in order to ensure efficacy and user safety. However, proper equipment maintenance is essential to the safety of workers in the Sterile Processing Department. Low-temperature sterilizers or high-level disinfectant equipment needs to be properly maintained because wear and tear takes its toll on sterilizers, just like any other equipment, and worn out components can cause the sterilizer to leak. A sterilant vapor leak can expose workers to a potentially hazardous situation.

  1. What tips would you offer CS/SPD professionals when it comes to instrument maintenance and protecting worker safety?

By keeping up with the routine maintenance recommended by the manufacturer, the risk of a leak or malfunction decreases, but does not go away since leaks can also be caused by equipment failure, failure of engineering controls and human error. In fact, recent studies have proven that even properly maintained equipment can leak, exposing workers to unsafe vapors. Since the odor threshold for the most common sterilants are well above unsafe levels, workers would be unable to perceive if there is a leak from the equipment. The only way to know if and when equipment is leaking is to continuously monitor the air around the equipment.

  1. How can ChemDAQ help?

ChemDAQ provides portable and fixed, real-time gas detection and monitoring solutions for Hydrogen Peroxide and Ethylene Oxide (the two most common low-temperature sterilants), and Peracetic Acid (one of the most common high-level disinfectants). These products let workers know BEFORE they are exposed to unsafe levels of these chemicals with both visual and audible alarms, giving employees peace of mind that they are safe while ensuring employer compliance to OSHA and AAMI standards.

ChemDAQ’s mission is to protect workers by providing best-in-class gas detection and monitoring equipment. If you would like to request a quote or more information, contact us!

Steri-Trac Continuous Hydrogen Peroxide Vapor Monitor