Autoclaves are used in many areas to sterilize materials by high heat and pressure. The hot (132 oC [270 oF]), pressurized (30 psi) steam that autoclaves generate make them serious burn hazards as well. Burns can result from physical contact with the autoclave structure and from contact with the steam leaving the unit.
Explosive breakage of glass vessels due to temperature stresses can produce mechanical injury, cuts and burns during opening and unloading the unit. Burns can also result from careless handling of vessels containing hot liquids. Additionally, because of the extreme conditions created inside steam autoclaves, they can easily malfunction if not carefully maintained. Because each autoclave make / model has unique characteristics, it is imperative that you read and thoroughly understand the manufacturers operating procedures before you use an autoclave for the first time.