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Maintaing A Safe Laundry Room

All employees want to work in a safe environment. When workplace accidents happen it costs money, reduces efficiency and increases equipment downtime. As a laundry room manager, there are things you can do to reduce the risk of an accident occurring. Because all employees aren’t the same and neither are their past experiences, education and training are key elements to ensuring a safe working environment.

Developing a Training Program Promotes Efficiency
Wouldn’t it be scary if we just let 16 year-olds drive without taking driver’s education? It’s just as scary as letting an employee operate equipment without proper training. By implementing a training program, you will experience fewer workplace accidents, lower employee absenteeism, lower machine downtime and you may even save money on your Worker’s Compensation premiums.

A good place to start when developing a training program is with your laundry equipment distributor. Many offer training on the equipment you purchased. Require that that every employee who will come in contact with the laundry equipment attends this training. Also, manufacturers typically include operation manuals with new washer-extractors and tumblers. You can use these manuals as a guide to develop an on-going training program.

Some repetitive tasks can become monotonous and this monotony breeds complacency. Along with complacency comes the potential for not paying attention to established safety procedures. To help combat this, train employees in more than one area of the laundry room and rotate them throughout the shift.

When it comes to training, the best things come in threes. It’s generally recommended that you verbally present the main training points twice and to reinforce it, post signage in the laundry room highlighting the key aspects.

Through continuous training you not only show your commitment to your employees, but you ensure the efficiency of your laundry room.

Keep Equipment Working in Good Condition
Accidents can occur when equipment isn’t properly maintained. By creating a preventative maintenance schedule and sticking with it, you increase your department’s efficiency, reduce the risk of injury and illness, minimize unscheduled interruptions and prevent larger more costly repairs.

In addition to training, to help employees avoid injury while using laundry room equipment, there are certain things to look for. Listed below is partial list of general maintenance/safety tips. Consult with your distributor for a complete list.

Tumbles- Dryers

  1. Include on the dryer maintenance schedule steps to ensure your equipment has unrestricted airflow. While you may clean the dryer lint screen several times a day, it is equally important that at least once a month the entire exhaust duct is inspected. A restricted exhaust duct from lint reduces airflow and increases the chances of creating an unsafe condition. In addition to the exhaust duct, it’s recommended that every six months you vacuum behind the tumbler.
  2. Perform safety checks on tumblers. Try opening the door during the dry cycle. The machine should stop when the door is opened.
  3. Remove hot laundry. Always unload a tumbler immediately after cycle completion. Never leave a hot load sit in a tumbler or laundry cart unattended.
  4. Throw out rags. If you have rags that have been used to clean up or apply a chemical, don’t wash or dry them. For safety reasons its best to throw them out.
  5. Use tumblers for intended purposes. To reduce the risk of fire don’t dry plastics, articles containing foam rubber, rags contaminated with gasoline or other flammable solvents or mop heads.

Washer-Extractors

  1. Every 200 hours of use grease the bearing and seals using a manufacturer recommended grease.
  2. On a daily basis look for leaks. Besides the obvious puddle on the floor, inspect hoses for water and chemical leaks. Don’t use the equipment until it is repaired by your service technician.
  3. Every three months, check the belt condition, clean water inlet screens and inspect anchor bolts.
  4. Check the door interlock. When testing the door interlock, attempt to start the machine with the door open, close the door and without locking it, attempt to start the machine. If the equipment starts during either of these tests, contact your service technician. Also, try opening the door during the wash cycle. The door should stay locked.
  5. Pay attention to your surroundings. Never under any circumstances operate your washer-extractor if any of the following conditions are present: There is excessively high water in the laundry room area and if the machine is not connected to a properly grounded circuit.

In addition to implementing and posting a preventative maintenance checklist and safety procedures, post clear directions for operating conditions such as start-up and shut down procedures.

With rising healthcare costs on the job injuries need to be prevented. No matter the size of your on-premises laundry through proper training, maintenance, and by working with your staff and distributor, you can design and operate a laundry room that is safe, efficient and productive.

Kim Shady, National Sales Manager for UniMac has worked in the commercial laundry industry for more than 18 years.

Quick Rinse - News From Around The World

Crothall Employee Critically Injured

ROME, Ga. — A steam explosion which critically injured a maintenance worker is under investigation at Crothall Laundry Services. There were no other injures. Crothall Laundry Services provides linen and laundry services to medical facilities.