Laundry Best Practices
Textile services operations use a variety of techniques to launder textiles to TRSA standards. Certification rules are flexible to encourage novel approaches; all are acceptable as long as bacteriological testing indicates adequate cleaning
Laundries that achieve the TRSA Hygienically Clean standard follow protocols (best management practices) that separate the soiled and clean areas of their facilities and standardize soiled linen handling and equipment maintenance. They document their housekeeping, such as:
- Equipment use, cleaning and care
- Schedules for cleaning
- Selection, measurement and proper use of cleaning supplies
- Work surfaces and work station cleaning
Laundry processes include strict washing procedures using pre-determined formulas allocating specific amounts of time for soaking, rinsing, spinning and other wash cycle functions. Certified laundries allow only specialized combinations of wash chemicals and ensure acceptable pH of their finished goods. Dryer temperatures are indicated as well.
A quality control manual documents these and other BMPs including compliance with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations.
Focus on OSHA Hazard Communications
The TRSA Hygienically Clean standard calls for quality control documentation of all procedures for compliance with all applicable OSHA regulations with special attention to hazard communication rules. Laundry workers may be exposed to hazardous or toxic chemicals. Ensuring they handle these safely is critical to their health and could be a factor in keeping laundered products hygienically clean. Effective hazard communication prompts employees to take responsibility for protecting themselves and their colleagues.
TRSA inspectors evaluate laundries’ hazard communication programs, including chemical product labels, material safety data sheets (MSDSs) and employee training. Laundries list their hazardous chemicals and managers and employees develop action plans to enhance safety in using them. An effective program also documents which hazardous chemicals apply to each work area, how management informs employees of the hazards of non-routine tasks, and hazards associated with chemicals in unlabeled pipes.