The Critical (3) Dos and Don'ts For Handling Sterile Packaging

Author: Michele DeMeo

Contributors: Stephen Kovach, Sue Klacik, Jane Severin, Jon Wilder

Three critical practices to ensure sterile goods are delivered to the point-of-use undamaged, sterile, and safe for patient use it is the purpose of this document. These practices are not exhaustive but provide a guideline in these changing times with rapidly emerging new viruses and other pathogens. While they may seem to be common sense, we have found that the best way to ensure something is understood is by repeating it. Why? New people come into the perioperative, material management, and sterile processing professions who need to learn. Sometimes "we've always done it this way" may not be the best way.

Note: Always follow the CDC's guidelines for handwashing.

Step (1) Using Proper Hand Hygiene

  • Properly perform hand hygiene after BREAKING DOWN any external cardboard shipping boxes or other external shipping containment devices.

  • At the start and close of each shift, at a bare minimum, disinfect the assembly workstation or worktable with an EPA-registered surface disinfectant adhering to the procedure in its Instructions for Use (IFU).

  • Properly perform hand hygiene BEFORE preparing or handli