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Duke-NUS Lab Policies & Procedures Document No.

ROP-03-01
Original Issue 4 Apr 2008
Lab Equipment SOP Last Updated
Autoclave (Steam Sterilizer) Page 1 of 3

1 Scope
A. This SOP is a guide for operating the autoclave in the GMS lab.
i. ALP CL40M
ii. Tomy SX-500

2 Responsibility
A. Each lab worker who has to use the autoclave must read and understand the
recommendations in this SOP.
B. For a lab worker using the autoclave for the very first time, supervision must be provided
by the party (lab or person) in-charge of the autoclave. The name of this party and
contact information is provided on the equipment.
C. Any queries or doubts must be cleared with the party-in-charge before using the
autoclave.

3 Appropriate personal protective equipment


A. Hand protection – Hand protection for handling clean items for autoclaving is optional
depending on the items to be handled. Heat-proof gloves must be worn for removal of
the autoclaved items.
B. Lab coat – Long sleeved, fully buttoned to be worn at all times while operating the
equipment.

4 Special precautions
D. Manufacturer’s recommendation:
i. Do not operate the machine when there is deformation, damage or corrosion
found in the chamber, lid, lid hooks catches.
ii. Do not open the drain valve during operation
iii. Do attempt to open the autoclave lid when it is in operation
iv. Do not get near to the autoclave machine when in use
v. Stop operation immediately when the pointer of the pressure gauge reads above
the red line during operation
vi. Do not open the chamber lid until the pressure drops to 0MPa
vii. Do not bend over when opening the lid of the autoclave machine
viii. Do not use bare hands to touch any metal parts of the autoclave machine
immediately after use
ix. Do a general check on the machine
x. Do not stack or store combustible materials (cardboard, plastic, volatile or
flammable liquids) next to an autoclave
Duke-NUS Lab Policies & Procedures Document No. ROP-03-01
Original Issue 4 Apr 2008
Lab Equipment SOP Last Updated
Autoclave (Steam Sterilizer) Page 2 of 3

5 Procedure
A. Visual Inspection:
i. Ensure that the power cable is not damage and the cable is not caught under
heavy equipment
ii. Check that the exhaust hose is not bent
iii. Check the inside of the autoclave for any items left by the previous user that
could pose a hazard (e.g. sharps).
iv. Ensure there is no flammable or explosive materials beside the machine
v. Check that items to be autoclaved are not flammable, volatile or corrosive
chemicals.
vi. Ensure that only autoclavable type of materials such as polypropylene,
borosilicate (Pyrex) glass or stainless steel are being used. Biological wastes
should be autoclaved in biohazard waste bags that are autoclavable.
vii. Ensure there is sufficient water in the chamber of the autoclave machine which
can be gauged by ensuring that the water level fully covers the bottom plate.
viii. All items to be autoclaved must be placed in the baskets or bins provided before
putting into the chamber. These bins should always be placed at the bottom of
the autoclave. Biological waste bags should be put onto secondary container
pans or trays to catch spills.

E. Operation of autoclave:
i. Cover the lid and ensure it is locked properly.
ii. Select to the desired temperature and length of time.
iii. Select the course for sterilization to be carried out e.g. to autoclave liquid, select
liquid sterilize. Bags of biological waste should be autoclaved for a minimum of
30 minutes to ensure decontamination.
iv. Press start and wait for the machine to reach the desired temperature that is
preset before leaving.
v. Record all information required in the log book provided.

C End of Operation:
i. At the end of the sterilization cycle, ensure the following:
• Wear heat-resistant gloves when opening the autoclave lid.
• Open the autoclave lid slightly and slowly. Do not open the lid if resistance
can be felt.
• Before removing autoclaved items, wait for 5 minutes for loads containing
only dry glassware, and 10 minutes for autoclaved liquid loads.
• For non-liquid loads, let the glassware cool for 15 minutes before touching it
with ungloved hands, while for liquid loads, let liquids stand for a full hour
Duke-NUS Lab Policies & Procedures Document No. ROP-03-01
Original Issue 4 Apr 2008
Lab Equipment SOP Last Updated
Autoclave (Steam Sterilizer) Page 3 of 3

before touching with ungloved hands and let others in the area know a heat
hazard is present.

D General cleaning/housekeeping recommendations:


i. Ensure that the chamber water is changed regularly.
ii. Autoclave has to be subjected to inspections by MOM authorized boiler
inspectors once a year for safety purposes.
iii. The responsibility for ensuring that the MOM inspections for all common/shared
autoclaves are carried out annually lies with the Research Operations
Department.
iv. The responsibility for the overall cleanliness and maintenance of the autoclaves
lies with the user as well as the party-in-charge.

6 Document Information
Prepared by: Ho Pei Leng (Research Operations Officer)
Approved by: Kam Wai Kuen (Senior Manager, Research Operations)