Accidents are most likely to occur during the final operations of opening and unloading the autoclave, if they are to happen. When the pressure gauge reaches zero, wait one or two minutes before opening the autoclave. It is dangerous to begin opening the autoclave before the pressure gauge reaches zero. Long-sleeved, heat-resistant gloves should be worn- do not use if wet or have holes in them. Other protective equipment that should be worn to prevent being splashed by hot liquids are rubber apron and safety goggles, glasses, or faceshield.
Steam (Sterilizing) Autoclaves
The major hazards are:
- Burns resulting from physical contact with the structure of the autoclave.
- Steam burns arising from contact with steam issuing from the apparatus.
- Explosive breakage of glass vessels during opening and unloading.
- Burns arising from careless handling of vessels containing boiling liquids.
- Autoclave Safety Office of Radiation, Chemical & Biological Safety, Michigan State University
- Using Autoclaves Safely, University of California-Berkeley
- Autoclave Safety, University of Maryland
- Autoclave / Steam Generator Installation Requirements, University of Maryland
- Autoclave Safety, Cornell University
- Autoclave Safety, University of Mississippi
- Laboratory Safety Incidents: Autoclaves, AIHA Laboratory Health & Safety Committee
- Autoclave Safety, University of Alabama at Birmingham
- Safe and Effective Use of Autoclaves, University of Pennsylvania
- Autoclaves, Iowa State University