Autoclaves are the most dependable systems available for the decontamination of laboratory waste and the sterilization of laboratory glassware, media, and reagents. However because they use pressurized steam, autoclaves also present a burn hazard to users. Please review the following information on protecting themselves from burns, proper use, and the requirements for installation of new autoclaves or relocation of existing ones.
Caution: Autoclaves may cause serious burns
To Prevent Injury:
- Loosen screw caps on bottles and tubes of liquids before autoclaving.
- Check that chamber pressure has returned to zero before opening door.
- Wear eye and face protection.
- Stand behind door when opening it.
- Slowly open door only a crack. Beware rush of steam.
- Keep face away from door as it opens. Escaping steam may burn face.
- Wait 5 minutes after opening door before removing liquids.
- Liquids removed too soon may boil up and out of container, burning operator.