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Agencies Issue Notification for Cleaning Hazards
Four federal agencies have developed a public-health notification that describes the hazards of using excess cleaning and disinfecting liquids on certain electronic medical equipment, and recommends ways to avoid these hazards
Over the past two years, The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have learned about and collaborated to address problems associated with inappropriate use of liquids on electronic medical equipment. The problems included equipment fires and other damage, equipment malfunctions, and healthcare worker burns. These problems involved infusion pumps, ventilators, patient-controlled analgesia pumps, sequential compression device pumps, telemetry physiological signal receivers and transmitters, infusion fluid warmers, and infant anti-abduction sensors.
A broad perspective on contamination drives current infection-control strategies that focus on cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces that contribute to cross-transmission of infections. Contaminated surfaces can include: surfaces and equipment with blood or other potentially infectious material; surfaces touched by gloved hands after glove contact with patients; surfaces touched by patients, and surfaces contacted by or in the vicinity of aerosols and spatter; and surfaces with uncertain cleanliness.
The root cause of the problems likely was corrosion of electronic circuitry by disinfecting or cleaning solutions that penetrated the equipment housings. Health care workers routinely sprayed the housings with disinfectants or wrapped the housings with disinfectant-soaked towels.
These practices generally are not consistent with the equipment manufacturers’ directions for use, which typically recommend wiping the housing with a soft cloth dampened with a mild detergent and water.