SOP on Handling of Autoclave
1.0 Purpose: This SOP describe a procedure for sterilization by autoclaving.
2.0 Scope: This SOP applies to the microbiology department staff.,
3.0 Responsibility: Quality Control Microbiologist to ensure that the procedure is followed.
4.0 Materials and Equipment: As required
5.1.1 The outside of the autoclave should be wiped with a wet sponge and allowed to dry.
5.2.1 Satisfactory maintenance of autoclave requires very close co-operation between the operating staff and the engineers who carry out routine maintenance of factory equipment
5.2.2 Maintenance should be done in accordance with the autoclave manufacturer’s instructions and service manuals. On the basis of the information obtained from these sources a planned preventive maintenance programme must be drawn up and implemented.
5.3.1 Items to be sterilised must be protected against contamination during autoclaving and from microorganisms after autoclaving.
5.3.2 The load should be so prepared that there are adequate spaces between items and that air and condensate are effectively removed.
5.3.3 The material used for wrapping the items should be permeable to steam and air.
5.3.4 After air removal, steam should be allowed to enter the chamber at the required pressure after which the lag time starts. The whole load should attain the sterilizing temperature.
5.3.5 The sterilizing hold time starts when the lag time appropriate to the load has passed. The minimum hold times which must be followed are 30 minutes at 1150C and 15 minutes at 1210C to 1220C.
5.3.6 After the sterilizing time the steam pressure in the chamber and jacket should be reduced or allowed to fall slowly to atmosphere pressure. Open the autoclave, allow to enter the air until the temperature of the load is low enough to handle safely.
5.3.7 Autoclaved items to be used in aseptic operations should be offloaded into an aseptic safety.
5.3.8 Complete records of the use of autoclaves should be kept in the form of log books and any other form of documentation (i.e. results of sterilizing indicators)