Clean is Safe
Cleaning Surgical Instruments 
Product Development - Washer Decontaminators
John Temple John Prohonic
Summary:  It is a recognized risk of exposure to unidentified microorganisms that reprocessing personal endure during the decontamination, reprocessing-cleaning of surgical instruments. Our goal is to minimize the amount and degree of reprocessing personal exposure to this risk and provide surgical instruments that are clean: safe to handle, safe for patient care, and reprocessed at the lowest cost. Optimal reprocessing cleaning of surgical instruments will secure the prerequisite for disinfecting surgical instruments and/or sterilizing surgical instruments. Typically, Healthcare Facilities manually clean [hand-wash] surgical instruments: with dried on or excessive debris, cannulated surgical instruments, surgical instruments with working channels and/or surgical instruments  with lumens. Healthcare Facilities also manually clean [hand-wash] surgical instruments, when a surgical instrument washer decontaminators or washer disinfectors is not available. Hand washing surgical instruments places the reprocessing personnel at risk. In the decontamination area, surgical instruments are received that are contaminated with variable amounts of debris and unidentified microorganisms. In the Clean Side reprocessing area, surgical instruments requiring further reprocessing are handled by unprotected reprocessing personnel.  
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Reprocessing Workers at Risk Cleaning Surgical Instruments
Inherent in the manual cleaning-decontamination-reprocessing of surgical instruments is power spraying, splashing, and the creation of contaminated aerosols. The manual cleaning-decontamination-reprocessing of surgical instruments presents the risk of infectious puncture wounds. The handling of each individual surgical instrument device is time consuming, labor intensive, renders limited through-put and has high overhead costs.
Clean is Safe
Cleaning Surgical Instruments
Reprocessing Surgical Instrument Washer Disinfectors
In the United States manufacturers of Surgical Instrument Washers are not approved by the FDA to market their products as Washer Disinfectors. However, many of the Surgical Instrument Washers are manufactured to produce the times and temperatures that can effectively deliver disinfected surgical instruments. If it is your preference to have cleaning reprocessing results of a "washer disinfector", refer to the Surgical Instrument Washer Specifications for assurance that the times and temperatures available are those you consider to be appropriate for disinfecting surgical instruments. Reprocessing Surgical Instrument Washer Decontaminator Disinfectors can safely contain within their chambers the cleaning-decontamination-reprocessing functions, removal of debris, and contaminated aerosols.  The batch treatment of reprocessing surgical instruments using automated Surgical Instrument Washer Decontaminators Disinfectors saves time, increases material through-put, improves surgical instrument turnaround times, provides for FTE reduction, and lowers cost for surgical instrument cleaners. It has been demonstrated that a properly designed Surgical Instrument Washer Decontaminator Disinfector, that is used to manufacturer’s specifications, will consistently and repeatedly remove all microorganisms from surgical instruments. Reprocessing Surgical Instrument Washer Decontaminators Disinfectors should be used in accordance with the manufacturer’s direction for use, to secure the most consistent and efficacious results.  Worker safety and reprocessing efficacy can be compromised by violating the manufacturer’s recommendations.  Examples of such recommendations are: Keeping the cannulated surgical instrument working chambers and lumens exposed during cleaning-reprocessing and the use of purified water final rinses. 
Clean is Safe
Cleaning Surgical Instruments
A Clean Surgical Instrument Device is Safe to Handle - Clean is Safe
It is critical that devices are cleaned properly to secure the safety of reprocessing workers in the Clean Area.  During the steps of inspection, sorting and packaging of devices, the unprotected reprocessing personnel are repeatedly at risk from a surgical instrument that has remained contaminated with microorganisms. Within the implementation of the Universal Decontamination Precautions, it is our goal to eliminate exposure and reduce the risk to Reprocessing personnel whenever possible. The use of proper hand washing surgical instrument reprocessing decontamination methods can render surgical instruments that are clean, but requires the continual exposure of the Reprocessing Staff to contaminated surgical instruments. The Reprocessing Staff performance is influenced by skill level, knowledge and work load. This may impact the efficacy of the process. The use of a properly designed reprocessing surgical instrument washer decontaminator disinfector reduces the: overhead cost of reprocessing, risks to the Reprocessing Staff and provides consistence removal of all microorganisms from soiled surgical instruments.  Once a surgical instrument is clean, it is then safe for further reprocessing and handling. Proper cleaning is the prerequisite for disinfecting and/or sterilizing surgical instruments. Optimal reprocessing cleaning can render surgical instruments that, at the end of decontamination, cleaning, and reprocessing, are sterile.
Clean is Safe
Cleaning Surgical Instruments