Productivity, Ergonomics and Quality Investments: 3 Factors for Picking the Perfect Prep and Pack Table

Your prep and pack tables might be failing you. Every piece of equipment in sterile processing is asked to deliver all the features and benefits they promised; they often fall short. Assembly tables are no exception.

In a previous post, we explored how current prep and pack tables might be reducing productivity, increasing non-compliance and staff injuries through poor ergonomic design, and costing departments in the long-run with service costs and lost investments.

What, then, qualifies a ‘great’ prep and pack table? Here are some ways to screen out these concerns and find the ‘diamond in the rough’:

1: The best prep and pack tables help staff feel productive


Prep and pack tables must provide clean, neat and organized workspaces. That directly mirrors the outcomes and quality of the assembly work.

Great prep and pack tables will acknowledge that assembly tasks require a lot of tools and workspace. Effectively designed tables will clear workspace for instrumentation and trays, and keep accessories and tools organized up and away. These tables will also ensure there’s enough space for everything: from the big heat sealer shelves to the small sterilization indicators.

Sterile processing is not only assembling but inspecting instrumentation. Quality assurance needs are rising as well. Borescopes, ATP

testing, protein tests, and other assurance steps are further adding demands to prep and pack tables. Tables that consider these factors in their utilization of space can help deliver better productivity outcomes.

Every minute counts in sterile processing. When staff zig-zag across their department to complete one task, something isn’t working. A well-designed prep and pack table will consolidate activities and tools to one station, enhancing the power of every, productive minute.


2: The best prep and pack tables help staff feel comfortable & ensure compliance

A safe, comfortable and ergonomic work environment can drive quality outcomes. Staff don’t make avoidable mistakes, and more attention can be paid to quality outcomes.

Assembly tables that consider multiple ergonomic factors are in a better position to deliver these outcomes:

  • Vertical storage: Height-adjustable tables that help mount tools and accessories above their working space account for OSHA recommendations to reduce straining, reaching, and bending throughout the day.
  • Lighting: Effective lighting reduces eye strain and helps catch poorly cleaned or damaged instrumentation from making its way to the operating room. Effective illumination is also a compliance requirement, as stipulated by both ANSI/AAMI ST79 and ST91.
  • “Quality of Life” Ergonomics: Finer ergonomic needs are more than just aesthetics. They might include the ability to tilt monitors, affect screen brightness, be accessible for those with disabilities, and more.

To explore more elements of effective ergonomics and earn 1 free CE, take our Ergonomics: Its Place in Strategic Planning CE program.

Ergonomics can be an important, decisive factor in delivering compliant and consistent outcomes!


3: The best prep and pack tables help departments get long-term returns on their investment

Assembly table projects are expensive in both time and price. Leaders have a responsibility to both manage these costs, and double-down on these investments.

Prep and pack tables do not belong on a list of equipment that sterile processing needs to service and repair. Thoughtful, simple design and innovation can make a big difference in preventing downtime and repair costs in assembly. Evaluate this component in your next prep and pack table investment. Designs should be sturdy for regular use, but not so complicated that items cannot be serviced, replaced, or easily taken care of.

light table

The needs of a department change often. The operating room’s technologies might change even faster. Ensuring tables are ‘future-proofed’

for changing technologies can ensure tables outlive trends. Consider if tables can ‘grow and flex’ with the needs of its department and administration.

Many sterile processing leaders would say that getting more meaningful work out of every minute, providing a compliant and comfortable work environment, and demonstrating an ability to deliver returns on investments are priorities. Assembly tables, when carefully selected, can do all these things.

Carefully consider and ask lots of questions of prep and pack table vendors, and if the going gets tough, consider these three factors when you need to fight for your decision. These selling features might help your department get the equipment it deserves.


Evaluating new prep and pack tables? Explore why PureSteel™ Ergonomic WorkStations are in some of the highest performing hospitals across the country, and how they’re delivering against these three, critical promises!