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OSHA Hazard Information Bulletins
Steam Sterilizers

December 28, 1988




  • Director
  • Office of Field Programs


  • Director
  • Directorate of Technical Support


  • Safety Hazard Information Bulletin on Steam Sterilizers Note: This bulletin does not apply to ethylene oxide and small self-contained tabletop steam sterilizers.

The American Sterilizer Company has brought to our attention a potential hazard associated with the use of all of its hospital and medical equipment steam sterilizers including the Eagle 2000 and Medallion series. The sterilizers are commonly used in hospitals, clinics, medical research facilities, laboratories, and also in industrial applications. If a sterilizer steam supply should fail, the sterilizer chamber can fill with scalding water. Any employee who would then open the sterilizer door could be subject to serious burning.

American Sterilizer states to its customers in its attached Safety Notification that all sterilizer steam boilers require routine preventative maintenance to avoid possible steam supply malfunctions. The company urges its customers to either contract with American Sterilizer to perform the maintenance or to assume responsibility for the maintenance and strictly follow the attached maintenance schedule. Also attached are warning decals for sterilizer operators meant to be placed on prominent sterilizer locations such as door covers. An auxiliary retrofit audible and visual alarm is currently undergoing development and evaluation. Please note that steam sterilizers are also manufactured by a number of other companies and that the same precautions should be observed for these devices.

Please distribute this bulletin to Area Offices, State Plan States and Consultation Projects.

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