Autoclaves

An autoclave is a pressure chamber that is used to sterilize equipment and supplies, including reagents, surgical instruments, glassware, media, and biohazardous waste. The hazards associated with autoclave use include heat, steam, and pressure. Do not operate an autoclave until you have been trained how to do so properly.


General Autoclave Safety

Prior to operating an autoclave:

  1. Watch the 20 minute Autoclave Training Video by Arizona State University.
  2. Read the General Autoclave Safety Guidelines.
  3. Document training on the Autoclave Training Log.
  4. If autoclave is over five cubic feet in volume, contact Facilities Services Maintenance & Alterations regarding an autoclave structural inspection with a qualified inspector (required every two years per WAC 296-104-100).


Autoclaving Biohazardous Waste

Steam sterilization means sterilizing biohazardous waste by use of saturated steam within a pressure vessel at temperatures sufficient to kill all microbiological agents in the waste as determined by chemical and biological indicator monitoring per requirements set forth by the Seattle Municipal Code, Section 21.43.050. All autoclave operators who steam sterilize biohazardous waste must operate autoclaves as specified in the regulations.

Principal investigators, departmental managers, and/or facility supervisors are responsible for monitoring their autoclaves to ensure sterilization of biohazardous waste. Operating procedures and monitoring requirements are detailed in the Autoclaving Biohazardous Waste Guidelines. EH&S monitors autoclave and decontamination compliance practices as part of biosafety laboratory visits.

Prior to autoclaving biohazardous waste:

  1. Watch the 20 minute Autoclave Training Video by Arizona State University.
  2. Read the General Autoclave Safety Guidelines.
  3. Read the Autoclaving Biohazardous Waste Guidelines and complete the site-specific procedures template.
  4. Document training on the Autoclave Training Log.
  5. Record monthly biological indicator monitoring results on the Quality Control Checklist (includes test instructions).
  6. Use the Autoclave Log Sheet to record autoclave runs.


Autoclave Documents


Resources


Questions?

For questions, contact an EH&S biosafety officer at ehsbio@uw.edu or 206.221.7770.