McMaster University

McMaster University


Autoclaves are pressure vessels which inject steam into a sealed chamber and eject cold air by gravity fill or by vacuum assistance. The autoclave pushes steam into the vessel at pressure X to ensure that steam reaches temperature Y. For each autoclave, the relationship between X and Y are different depending on many factors.

All autoclaves, should be evaluated for their applicability under the Technical Standards & Safety Act, specifically the Boilers and Pressure Vessels Regulations. If applicable under this regulation, the autoclave is required to be inspected every year by McMaster's insurance provider for this purpose.

Decontamination of Wastes

At this time, treated biomedical waste is NOT to be disposed through the regular (clear bag) garbage stream. If biomedical waste is autoclaved, it must still be disposed through the biomedical waste stream, regardless.

If users are autoclaving non-biomedical waste for disposal through the general waste stream, a registered validation program must be in place.

If users are autoclaving contaminated items for re-use, a registered validation program must be in place.

Please contact the Research Program Administrator (link on left) to register your autoclave validation program.

Please download the Autoclave Management SOP.

Please download the Autoclave Managment Checklist.


Autoclave Maintenance

All pieces of equipment used in offices, teaching environments, clinical environments and laboratories must be maintained to ensure they continue to operate safely and as designed.

All supervisors are accountable for ensuring their equipment is maintained per the Preventative Maintenance Program RMM 406.

Additionally autoclaves used for decontamination of waste must be calibrated annually to ensure temperature and pressure parameters are met. Calibrations are typically not included in PM packages, therefore please contact your servicer provider to arrange for calibration.

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