For some industries, particularly those in healthcare, compliance with the Australian Laundry Standards, AS/NZS 4146:2000, is mandatory. But the cleanliness and hygiene of any laundry is important in minimising the spread of disease and infection, and supplying clean linen. One thing that all businesses processing laundry can adopt from the Australian Laundry Practice Standards is laundry design and flow.
The layout of a laundry is something that can often be overlooked, particularly from an infection control perspective. AS/NZS 4146:2000 states that there are four ways that a laundry can be designed to prevent cleaned linen from being contaminated by soiled linen:
- An Appropriate Barrier
Soiled linen should be stored a minimum of 2 metres away from cleaned linen areas. Ideally this is through a physical barrier, such as a wall, or a clearly defined area. Investing in a Barrier Washing Machine is a simple way of implementing this design.
- Staff Movement
Minimise the movement of staff from the areas in which soiled linen is processed to areas where cleaned linen is handled and stored. If staff need to work in both areas, ensure all protective clothing, such as aprons and gloves, are changed, and hands are washed thoroughly before moving into the clean area.
- Adequate Ventilation and Airflow
There should be adequate ventilation within the laundry room to minimise air contamination. In addition, the airflow should move from the clean side to the dirty side, and never the other way around – don’t forget to factor in the wind if you have open windows!
- Washrooms and Change Facilities
For the safety of your laundry as well as your employees, a reasonable washroom and change area should be provided so that they may shower or clean themselves at the end of a shift and change out of their dirty garments.
It’s important that soiled linen and the cleaned linen areas, as well as the staff that operate in these areas, be separated as much as possible to avoid recontamination of linens, and to minimise the spread of disease and infection. Protective clothing should always be worn and changed before moving into the clean area or before going home. Washing hands often and thoroughly is critical. Considering all these factors into the design and flow of the laundry will keep your employees safe and healthy, and your laundry operating at its best.
If you need assistance with laundry design or compliance, speak to one of our laundry experts today.