Sluice Room

Definition - What does Sluice Room mean?

A sluice room, also known as a soiled utility room, is a room found in hospitals and extended-care facilities such as nursing homes.

Sluice rooms are used to provide a means for the efficient disposal of human waste products generated by patients or residents of care facilities.

Safeopedia explains Sluice Room

The use of a dedicated sluice room works to isolate human waste sanitation operations from all other sanitation operations. This helps to prevent other sanitation facilities from being contaminated with human waste and ensures that the movement of all waste products is accountable to a single end destination.

Human-generated waste products are a significant hazardous waste, as they can contain a number of infectious materials, particularly if generated by sick individuals. They can also be contaminated with various hazardous chemical substances employed in medical treatments, such as cytotoxic chemotherapies.

A well-built sluice room reduces the risk of infection to workers and non-workers in the hospital or care facility by providing an efficient means of sanitation. Because they provide a protective function for workers, sluice rooms are a mandatory employee health and safety requirement that must be met by long-term care facilities, either as a specific requirement (such as in Ireland), as part of biohazardous-waste-disposal guidelines, or as part of the necessary steps that an employer must take to fulfill general-duty responsibilities. The use of a properly equipped sluice room may also be a necessary part of the requirements imposed by an authority governing the licensing of medical or long-term care facilities.

The key elements of a sluice room are:

  • A “sluice hopper,” which is used for disposing the contents of soiled bedpans and other items (such as contaminated linens), and also for temporary storage of those items
  • Either a washing device that is capable of fully sterilizing soiled equipment, a macerating device that is capable of processing disposable soiled equipment, or both
  • A handwashing station for employees to disinfect themselves, along with a storage area for non-soiled materials (which must be adequately separated from soiled materials)

Sluice room workers must be provided with proper personal protective equipment (PPE), such as goggles, protective gloves, and coveralls. In addition to hazards associated with biological materials, workers in sluice rooms may also face a risk from chemical and physical hazards, such as exposure to chemical cleaning agents and potential slips from spills.

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