- Created on Monday, 02 December 2002 13:11
- Written by Jim Hunter
Newton, Iowa - Survival of the fittest is a basic rule of thumb. To laundry managers it means that they must actively seek opportunities to enhance their facility's reputation, while fully utilizing the facility's resources for the good of their customers. Those goals can be met by keeping a properly maintained and safe laundry.One way to work towards keeping your laundry fit, working at its maximum potential and safe for employees is to conduct timely safety checks. Although this may seem like a standard component of any laundry's operating procedure, it often seems to be the most neglected. In a small establishment, manpower is lacking, and in large, high-volume facilities, time is the issue.
A routine safety check, or facility walk-thru, will not only alert you to any safety hazards, but also to preventative maintenance needs. While inspecting laundry equipment, it is important to take note of whether or not the machinery and its safety devices are functioning properly or if there is anything out of the ordinary. For example, when you lift the lid of a running washing machine, does it stop spinning or does it remain in motion? An employee who inadvertently sticks a hand or arm in a spinning washtub could easily suffer serious injury. You should also look to see if any broken ground wires have been left exposed as a result of the equipment being moved, which could result in electric shock. And inspect your machinery to see if there is any unnecessary dust or lint built-up around a motor, burner or drain, which could result in motors over-heating or a potential fire or flood.
Once all safety areas have been inspected, continue to take advantage of this opportunity to take note of the overall condition of the machinery and its components. Do any of the belts look worn? Is lubrication needed? This can help you to identify minor repairs before they turn into major expenses.
Cleanliness is also a key factor in keeping your facility safe and running at its potential. It can make the difference between meeting your laundry goals for the day or having to deal with that untimely flood or equipment fire, caused by dust and lint build up. Some keys to easy and effective cleaning are equipment placement and proper lighting. If logistically possible, washers and dryers that have a clear path behind them are easier to be kept clean. The wider path allows more room to place pipes and vents as well as the ability to access this area to clean out unwanted debris. Dark and dingy areas are less likely to be cleaned. Many of us tend to fall into the misconception of, "If I can't see it, then there must not be a need."
Proper lighting not only makes cleaning easier, but a well-lit laundry offers other advantages. In a well-lit laundry you will be able to clearly see a discoloration or stain that is present on the laundry, which will immediately alert laundry staff that additional cleaning measures need to be taken. It also enables staff to more easily detect standing water or spilled detergent on the floor which could lead to a slip or fall.
If a safety concern does arise or if a machine is out of order, it is good practice to have an outlined process for staff to follow when communicating this information. Provide your laundry staff with the tools, e.g., repair or accident report forms, maintenance log, a suggestion box, to get their needs, ideas and concerns across. In turn, you can address these comments in a timely manner.
Quick Rinse - News From Around The World
Textile Services Industry Gets National Spotlight
WILIMGTON, Mass. — Textile service executive Ronald Croatti recently appeared on the CBS-TV show “Undercover Boss.” Croatti is CEO of UniFirst Corp., in Wilmington, Mass. For most Americans watching “Undercover Boss” it was their first view inside a commercial laundry, which typically process between 10 million and 25 million pounds of uniforms, table linens, bed sheets, towels and more every year “The reusable textile services business is the original green industry,” said Ricci. “Commercial laundries reuse linen instead of filing landfills with disposable alternatives and continually discover new, innovative means to reduce energy consumption and recycle water. Our huge economies of scale allow laundries to use about two-thirds less water, energy and detergent than alternatives, such as washing at home, while hygienically cleaning textile products, improving disease control and reducing contamination.”