Legislation

The Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists issued revised Standards for the decontamination of instruments in March 2009. The Institute of Chiropodists and Podiatrists Standards were released in June 2010.

The recommendations of both bodies state that a mechanical process of cleaning (ie washer disinfector) is preferred to manual cleaning and that sterilization must be carried out in a suitable steam or vacuum autoclave suited to the task at hand. The equipment must be maintained and validated to ensure effectiveness. At the very least, clinicians are required to undertake steam sterilization as the method of sterilization within the decontamination process. The recommended cycle is 134°C-137°C.

The key words here are ‘suited to the task at hand’. EN13060 is the European Standard for small steam sterilizers and specifies cycle types for specific loads as follows:

• A ‘B’ type (vacuum) sterilizer should be used for the sterilization of all wrapped or non wrapped solid, hollow or porous products.

• An ‘N’ type (non vacuum) sterilizer should be used for the sterilization of non wrapped solid products.

The Standard also states that the sterilizer and associated equipment should only be used for the sterilization of the type of products for which it is designed. Contact us for more information or guidance.