Staying safe and healthy in commercial laundry rooms

A laundry room is by its very nature hectic, busy and bustling, and at times it can also be hot, steamy, noisy, wet, slippery and, it should be borne in mind at all times, potentially dangerous. Owners, operators and managers should never forget the importance of health and safety in this area, and that lapses in standards can lead to some extremely serious consequences.

Here are some vital commercial laundry safety tips that conscientious employers should be aware of, in order to keep their team members safe and of course to avoid any legal issues at some point in the future. The main issues facing people who work in commercial laundry rooms are:

  • Chemicals
  • Electrical issues
  • Harmful bacteria
  • Slips, trips and falls
  • Poor emergency procedures
  • Incorrect manual handling

Never forget the potential for infectious diseases

Handling soiled garments, bedding, tableware and other items can be a dangerous process, especially perhaps in hospitals, care homes, hospices and health centres. There is a risk of harmful bacteria being present, so safe, effective processes need to be in place at all times. It’s worth noting that legionella can be an issue with poorly maintained water cooling systems.

Know how to handle dangerous substances

Correct handling and control of solvents are the responsibility of employers and employees alike, yet too many commercial environments contain risks which can be avoided. Workers need to be made aware of the dangers they may be facing, and they need to be trained to know what to do at all times. Strong detergents and chemicals represent a serious risk for those who don’t follow commercial laundry safety tips.

Electrical safety is a major problem in many small laundry rooms. Incorrect or poorly applied wiring can create serious accidents – some of which can be fatal – but they can be avoided if the employer commissions in-depth maintenance checks carried out by qualified professionals. Commercial washing machines perform at an impressive level, but they always need to be installed correctly.

Manual handling is an issue that is all too often overlooked, despite the fact that it causes a large number of problems, including lasting musculoskeletal damage caused by lifting bags and boxes which are simply too heavy. The need to maintain fast laundry throughput can also add to the problem at times. Even in the busiest workplaces, however, employees must be trained to work safely.

No slips, no problems

Over the years, we have seen a large number of laundry room injuries caused by slips, trips and falls. In damp, steamy conditions, it’s possible that flooring will become more slippery than usual, and the resulting problems can be serious. Employees should be supplied with non-slip footwear which conforms to the appropriate standards, and of course, they should be encouraged to wear them throughout their shifts.

Perhaps the most important tip for all operators of laundry rooms, however, is a more general one. In the event of an emergency, many employees are not aware of correct emergency or evacuation procedures. This will always be a training issue, but it’s one that is sometimes not taken seriously enough. This can be rectified in no time, so it surely has to be a top priority.