There are many different areas where sterilizers are used. Every medical institution needs to sterilize its equipment on a regular basis. Sterilization is also needed in food industry, before canning for example. The most usual way of sterilization is steam sterilization (Many kinds of bacteria will perish at the temperature of about 70 degrees Celsius). The process involves high temperature steam and high pressure. For example to sterilize nutrient medium high pressure(3 or 4 times higher than atmospheric pressure) temperature up to 161 degrees Celsius is used.
Some medical liquids can not be sterilized with high temperature because it will inactivate vitamins and other biological substances. In such cases so called cold water sterilizers are used. In the devices liquids are filtered with special finely porous filters or exposed to ultraviolet light (ultraviolet sterilizers with special lamps installed). All the steam sterilizers that are used in hospitals, clinics, and laboratories consist of steam supply (special boiler similar to electric kettle used in every household), steam chamber and control device. But such a construction of steam sterilizer is potentially dangerous.
The hazard of steam sterilizers was brought to everyone's attention by the American Sterilizer Company. In its Safety Hazard Information Bulletin American Sterilizer Company states that if a sterilizer steam supply (boiler that produce steam for sterilizer) would fail the steam chamber will be filled with high temperature water. And any person who would open steam sterilizer door at that time could be subject to serious burning by scalding water that is in steam chamber. So to avoid possible danger American Sterilizer provides its customers with special Safety Notification. This notification states that every steam sterilizer needs a preventative maintenance to avoid any situations when steam supply fails. To perform such preventative maintenance customers have to contact American Sterilizer or strictly follow the attached maintenance schedule if they decide to assume the maintenance.
These days special devices are being developed to avoid situations with steam supply malfunctions. They will stop the steam supply or in some way give a signal that hazardous situation is present (audible and visual alarms can be used). Pretty simple measures can also be taken to avoid possible danger, like the right sterilizer operator placing (for example behind the door cover when the door is opened). It is also necessary to remember that numerous steam sterilizers are being produced by other companies, such as American Sterilizer Company. These devices can also be dangerous to use if steam supply fails although they don't have such notification as the American Sterilizer Company devices. All the steam sterilizers should be operated with care and regular preventative maintenance has to be performed to avoid possible danger for employees.