Unfortunately, in many steam sterilizer projects, architects, contractors, and end users do not pay enough attention to the eventual service area space required by technicians to safely and efficiently conduct preventive and corrective maintenance.

Based on feedback from PRIMUS Steam Sterilizer Schools, lack of sufficient service space is one of the major complaints of Authorized Service Agents (ASA) and in-house technicians. Conducting PMs and repairs in a cramped environment can ultimately cost significantly more because of labor inefficiencies.

Difficulty in maintaining cleanliness and proper ventilation is also a major issue in a poorly designed service area.

Basic Space Requirements

To provide adequate service space, the facility should have a minimum of 18″- 24″ clearance on the sides, top, and back of the sterilizer. These dimensions will also allow the proper dissipation of heat that the sterilizer generates.

Shut-offs for Steam, Water, Air (if required), and Electrical Disconnects

A properly configured service area includes shut-off valves for steam, water, and compressed air (if required).

PRIMUS also encourages electrical disconnects for 120 VAC and 3 Phase high voltage, if required, be located in the service area to allow the sterilizer to be safely serviced.

General Considerations – Safety, Housekeeping, and Maintenance

Work areas should be comfortable for all workers, including those who must access the back, sides, and top of a sterilizer to do their jobs properly.

Most burns caused by touching hot sterilizers are suffered by maintenance technicians working in cramped service areas.

Sterilizer service areas should also be adequately ventilated. For Healthcare facilities, ANSI/AMMI ST79 requires sterilization equipment access rooms to be maintained at 24ºC to 29ºC (75ºF to 85ºF).

Additionally, ANSI/AMMI ST79 requires that Healthcare autoclaves and supporting work areas be cleaned on a routine (daily) basis. This requirement includes the tops of sterilizers – an often overlooked area where dirt and debris can readily accumulate.

Have a question or having difficulties? Talk to Dave Schall, our PRIMUS sterilizer expert who is here to assist you anytime at 877.679.7800 extension 1212 or email at

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