Does OSHA require weekly testing of sterilizers?

This question was posed to me today. Here’s the exact wording that OSHA has to answer that, as well as text from the CDC and the AAMI:

OSHA Technical Notes No.23 states…

“OSHA is relying on guidelines published by the CDC as a widely recognized and accepted standard to be followed by employers in carrying out their responsibilities under the Occupational Safety and Health Act…” March 1, 1990

CDC Guidelines state…

“Proper functioning of sterilization cycles should be verified by the periodic use (at least weekly) of biological indicators (i.e. spore tests). Heat sensitive chemical indicators (e.g. those that change color after exposure to heat) alone do not ensure adequacy of a sterilization cycle…” May 28, 1993

AAMI Standards

“Table top sterilizers should be biologically monitored during initial installation and after major repairs. In addition, sterilization loads should be biologically monitored at least once a week but preferably daily. Each load containing implantable devices should be monitored.” 1998 Ed., Vol 1.1 Sterilzation in Health Care Facilities

So, as you can see from the wording above, it is highly recommended that each office perform weekly testing of all sterilizers using spore testing. Additional testing either daily or per load is even recommended. Here is what we recommend:

Weekly spore testing using the following:

sps_ems-052

Per load testing using the following:

sps_ssi-100