Hazard Report Summary [Health Devices Apr 1995;24(4):158-9]
We have received numerous reports from member
hospitals of exposure to bloodborne pathogens from blood and glass sprayed from
beneath the lid of centrifuges. Since the time of publication of our Hazard
Report Summary, "Centrifuges," in Health Devices 21(12), December 1992, we continue to receive
numerous requests for information concerning the safety of and purchasing considerations for centrifuges.
Use the following safety measures to avoid problems similar to those
Safety Features for
use of any centrifuge that does not have a lid and do not retrofit the unit
with a lid that does not have a latch.
Latches: Discontinue use of any centrifuge that
does not have a latch; the latch keeps the centrifuge lid closed in the
event of tube breakage or other problems while the centrifuge is operating.
All such units should be replaced or modified to include a latch; contact
the manufacturer for information.
Interlocks: If available, purchase centrifuges that
have lids with interlocks to prevent the user from opening the lid while the
rotor is spinning.
Inner safety lids: When possible, purchase centrifuges that have inner
safety lids for the buckets or rotor. If the units being purchased allow the
outer lid to be opened while the rotor is spinning at low speeds, be sure
they have protective inner lids.
Proper Use of Centrifuges
- Ensure that the centrifuge tubes are properly
balanced and that the speed and tube length are in accordance with the tube
and the centrifuge manufacturer's recommendations. Do not use tubes that are
not properly sized for the rotor. If using a swinging-bucket rotor, ensure
that the tubes are placed in accordance with the manufacturer's
instructions; long tubes (e.g., greater than 100 mm) placed in the corner
tube holders closest to the rotor shaft may break when the rotor buckets
- For centrifuges with swinging-bucket rotors, fasten
a protective inner safety lid (if available for your model centrifuge) onto
the bucket; for those with fixed-angle rotors, fasten an inner safety lid to
the rotor before centrifugation. Ensure that the safety lid is properly
sealed and positively locked into place.
- Ensure that the rotor has completely stopped
spinning before opening the lid, even if an "OPEN LID" indicator
lights and the safety interlock disengages. In some cases, the rotor may not
be visible; therefore, the user should allow a reasonable amount of time for
the rotor to stop and should feel the top of the lid for the cessation of
vibration before opening it.
- NEVER attempt to stop a moving rotor with your
hands or with a tool or object (e.g., a paper towel).
- All personnel should follow universal precautions when performing
centrifugation and other functions that may expose workers to splashed blood
or body fluids. These precautions include wearing gloves, facial protection
(e.g., shields), gowns or laboratory coats, and plastic aprons; these are
described in detail in the National Committee for Clinical Laboratory
Standards' (NCCLS) tentative guideline(1) and the Occupational Safety and
Health Administration's (OSHA) bloodborne pathogens standard.(2)
Maintenance Procedures for
- During preventive maintenance, ensure that the nut
that secures the rotor to the shaft is tight (check the manufacturer's
- Clean and disinfect all centrifuges regularly according to the
manufacturer's recommendations. Contact the manufacturer for guidance if the
operator's manual does not specify cleaning or disinfecting agents.
Prolonged contact with some disinfectants (e.g., 10% sodium hypochlorite)
may damage the rotor and other centrifuge components; be sure that such
solutions are removed by rinsing well with water.
In addition to the above, see the updated Procedure in Health Devices
Inspection and Preventive Maintenance System.
From Health Devices
Centrifuges [Hazard Report Summary]. 1992 Dec;21(12):459-60.
Dislodging of rotor and improper sealing of cover lids on Baxter Medifuge
C1700-2 centrifuges [Hazard Report]. 1992 Oct;21(10):380-1.
Improper sealing of Baxter Megafuge C1725-2 centrifuges [Hazard Report].
Risks from centrifuges [Hazard Update]. 1992 Aug;21(8):290-1.
Missing roll pin from Beckman Spinchron centrifuge rotor [User
Experience Network]. 1992 May;21(5):182-3.
Risks from Baxter Multifuge and other centrifuges without safety latches
[Hazard Report]. 1991 Jan;20(1):29-30.
Risk of cross contamination [Perspective]. 1989 Oct;18(10):331-2.
Operator safety. 1989 Jul-Aug;18(7-8):279.
From ECRI's Health Devices Inspection and Preventive
Maintenance (IPM) System
IPM Procedure for centrifuges. 1995 May; Procedure/Checklist No.
- National Committee for Clinical Laboratroy Standards (NCCLS).
Protection of laboratory workers form infectious disease
transmitted by blood, body fluids, and tissue. 2nd ed. (tentative guideline). Villanova, PA:
NCCLS, 1991 Sep (NCCLS Document M29-T2). This document can be obtained from
NCCLS. 771 E. Lancaster Ave., Villanova, PA 19085; (610) 525-4383.
- Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Occupational
exposure to bloodborne pathogens; final rule 29 C.F.R. Sec. 1910.1030.
Fed Regist 1991 Dec 6;56(235):64004-182.
- Centrifuges [10-778]
- Centrifuges, Tabletop [10-780]
Cause of Device-Related Incident
Device factors: Design/labeling error; Device
failure; Improper maintenance, testing, repair, or lack or failure of incoming inspection; Manufacturing error
User errors: Inappropriate reliance on an automated feature; Incorrect clinical use
Mechanism of Injury or Death
Exposure to airborne infectious agents; Exposure to bloodborne pathogens; Mechanical