What Does Sluice Room Mean?
A sluice room is a room specially designated for waste disposal, especially soiled clothing, bedding, and other items.
Sluice rooms are typically found in hospitals, nursing homes, special needs facilities, and other institutions focused on caregiving.
Sluice rooms are also known as dirty or soiled utility rooms.
Safeopedia Explains Sluice Room
To prevent infections and the spread of bacteria, the human waste generated in care facilities must be handled and disposed of safely and carefully. A dedicated sluice room allows this work to take place at a remove from all the other areas and activities in a facility.
The presence of a sluice room also ensures that all waste products are accounted for and are moved to a single end destination.
Sluice rooms also reduce the risk of contamination from hazardous chemical substances that are used as part of certain medical treatments, such as cytotoxic chemotherapies.
The Importance of Sluice Rooms
Healthcare-acquired infections (HCAIs) are a prevalent risk for those who work in medical facilities. Unless care is taken to isolate, treat, and properly dispose of infectious medical and human waste, outbreaks of infections or diseases are likely to occur.
Sluice rooms, then, play an important protective role for healthcare workers and are a mandatory workplace health and safety requirement for long-term care facilities. This can be a specific requirement imposed by a licensing body, fall under the biohazardous waste disposal guidelines, or one of the steps an employer must take to fulfill their general-duty responsibilities.
Key Elements of a Sluice Room
A good sluice room should contain the following:
- Soiled Area – A collection point for dirty items. It may also contain a stainless steel discharge table, as well as a sluice hopper to dispose of the contents of bedpans or contaminated linens.
- Flusher Disinfector – Receptacles such as bedpans, urine bottles, and toilet buckets are placed here to be emptied, cleaned, and disinfected.
- Macerating Device – A device that is used to process disposable soiled items or equipment.
- Hand Washbasin – A handwashing station for employees to disinfect their hands.
- Clean Storage Area – Cupboards and racks provided for storing cleaned and disinfected items.
- Lockable Cupboard – A storage space for the chemicals and disinfectants used for cleaning medical items.
Personal Protection for Workers
OSHA defines personal protective equipment (PPE) as “specialized clothing or equipment worn by an employee for protection against infectious material
”. Sluice rooms workers, then, must be provided with proper 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.