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OPERATIONAL STANDARDS


l Permanent damage to lungs. l Permanent damage to eyes/sight. l Pulmonary edema. l Burns to skin. l Damage to ‘mucous membranes’.


Unfortunately, the pressure on hospitals for the ‘quick turnaround’ of decontamination processes has led to cases where the health and safety of staff has been compromised due to poor PAA monitoring, resulting in serious consequences. In these cases, HSE investigations found that the decontamination processes failed to protect staff sufficiently. Trusts using equipment that failed to monitor toxic gas levels were subjected to successful claims for compensation.


Conclusion The research conducted by NFH demonstrates the urgent need for a review of PAA monitoring standards to ensure that all departments using strong sterilant, including storage and equipment containing sterilant, monitor the background levels of the toxic gases used to ensure staff safety. It also proved that although the smell


of acetic acid within the PAA solution was present, without the ability to monitor time-weighted average and spikes in


ATi UK’s D16 PortaSens lll hand-held gas detector.


readings when spilled, there could be no conclusion as to the level of safety within the areas where monitoring took place. Jacob Garthwaite, perfusionist at


Freeman Hospital, believes an urgent review of standards is required across the UK. “ATI’s PortaSens was vital in the validation of our ventilation system during the cleaning of LivaNova 3T heater-coolers. We were able to effectively assess PAA vapours in real-time, informing technicians of any leaks or spills that might cause the environment to become unsafe,” he said. “The findings of our validation prove


that our ventilation system provides a safe environment, below EPA time-weighted average guideline levels, for PAA during routine cleaning and small dilute spills. Furthermore, the PortaSens provides peace of mind in providing a finite figure regarding staff safety as well as a threshold for evacuation. I would strongly


recommend that any centre carrying out cleaning of 3T heater-coolers using Puristeril 340 or other PAA disinfectants validate their working environment with such a gas monitor.” Under COSHH legislation, employers


need to prove a health condition has not been due to exposed levels of toxic chemicals, but without the monitoring of background levels this cannot be done and can result in costly legal action. However, if a member of staff complains of a condition that is often caused by over exposure to high levels of gas vapour, logged data from the monitoring process can be used to demonstrate that the area remains safe. The results of the white paper


corroborate the urgent need to regularly audit perfusion areas where PAA is used and stored with the PortaSens lll gas detector, used within the study. The application of ATi UK’s PAA sensors in decontamination equipment is a prime example of the way in which monitoring data is crucially important to the success of a measure, while helping to protect and save lives. ATi UK’s PharmaSafe range of gas monitoring solutions significantly improve the effectiveness of the decontamination process, helping to keep key workers and members of the community safe.


IFHE


IFHEDigest Providing insights into the vast field of healthcare engineering and facility management 102 IFHE DIGEST 2021


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