Women in the Industry Initiative – Two Brilliant Success Stories

Success Stories

Our working group Women in the Industry is leading the way for our Diversity and Inclusion topic. One of TSA’s first action points and as part of Women in the Industry’s initiative we are sharing and highlighting success stories of our laundry employees.

Please see our next two fantastic stories below, congratulations!

Zoe Look
Production Manager 
Johnsons Hotel Linen by Afonwen 

Zoe has been the production manager of Reading site for the last 5 years taking production, safety and quality from strength to strength.

Zoe joined the laundry industry just over seven years ago as shift manager and quickly settled in the roll of a growing site, taking a well-deserved promotion to Production manager responsible for the managers running the two shifts seven days a week while still balancing family life with a young son.

Sarbjit Kaur
Production Manager

I started in the industry in 1997 for Shaws Laundry – A 5 star family business run by John and Tom Bovington in Kent. I started as a part time packer while I was doing a HND in Buisness Finance. I had previously lived and worked in Germany for 10 years.

My journey started as a packer, went onto being a Supervisor, then became a Production Manager, and then progressed to become an Operations Manager with Sunlight. With Sunlight I progressed very quickly to an Operations Manager at Northfleet, and was the first female to hold this position in their London Region. My whole team was all female and from different origins which was a risk as it had never been done before at Sunlight. With compassion, dedication, teamwork and effort we set the bar for the highest productivity and profit for over 6 consecutive years in Sunlight, mentored by Julian Carr MD who believed in our new strategy. I have been with in the industry for 24 years and loved every bit of it.

Sarbjit Kaur is the only production manager in Synergy LMS, she is hardworking, dedicated and well respected.

How to send us your stories

With help of the group we have created a template in order for you all to send us your stories. It may be recognising a ‘Rising Star’, a long service award, a significant retirement or a member of the team who has contributed outside work with a local charity, whatever the story we want to hear from you and tell the industry about some of the amazing people we have in it. 

Please note all genders can of course be entered but as this is part of the Women in the Industry initiative we do encourage you to enter your successful female colleagues in particular. 

If you have any queries or would like any further information, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us.

T: +44 (0)20 3151 5600
E: tsa@tsa-uk.org

Is PPE a hazard?

TSA warns that UK workforce safety is compromised by poorly cared for PPE

The Textile Service Association (TSA) is warning that thousands of UK workers are at risk from inadequately cared for PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), because it’s being washed at home.  It says that the care of textile-based PPE and workwear needs to be better understood, not only by employers but also by the workforce.  Many employees in the UK are asked to maintain the protective clothing provided to them.  This despite the fact that domestic washing machines are inadequate in terms of the controls needed to keep to the manufacturer’s requirements for maintaining the PPE. 

TSA has had reports of some employers providing washing rooms for employees to maintain PPE, but again these lack the right processes and materials to effectively care for the articles.  For example, the British Standard ISO 15797 specifies industrial PPE workwear washing and washing/drying parameters that align with the ISO 30023 qualification symbols for labelling workwear. Most people would have no understanding of this requirement. 

“What’s important is that the PPE is cared for properly and that this care is logged for traceability and to manage its quality throughout its life,” says Shyju Skariah, technical services manager at the TSA. 

BSIF (the British Safety Industry Federation) fully endorses the TSA’s arguments.  ‘‘PPE is the last line of defence for a worker’s safety and health,” says Alan Murray, CEO of BSIF.  “It must be maintained and cared for in line with manufacturer’s instructions to ensure that the garments retain their protective properties. 

The systems, engineering capabilities and quality assurance protocols within a specialist laundry are set up to do that, domestic laundering will not provide these controls.

“Furthermore, environmental considerations should be a high priority. Specialist laundries are required to have controls in place to ensure that the effluent from cleaning processes does not pollute the environment.‘’

Commercial laundries have been playing a central role for many industries to establish the effective quality management and traceability required to keep protective equipment fit for purpose.  Sectors as varied as automotive and healthcare rely heavily on commercial laundries to look after their workers’ PPE.  “Why?  Not only because they know it’s the safest way, but also because it means the PPE lasts longer, to it protects their investment,” says Skariah.  

The conditions required to care for the many different fabric and garment specifications need significant levels of fine tuning to get things right.  PPE is worn to protect the user from various types and degrees of soiling – these need to be taken into account, too.  

Commercial laundries calibrate chemicals and temperature conditions to handle varying levels of soiling. Surfactants, complexing agents, enzymes, chelating agents, foam inhibitors and several other chemical components are introduced to reduce the surface tension and thoroughly wet the textiles, to manage water hardness, to remove protein stains, to remove heavy metals… and there are many other processes. Laundries also use specialised systems compatible with the demands of PPE, such as effective, gentler alkalinity systems that achieve excellent results at lower pH levels and lower temperatures.  

TSA warns that disposable PPE does not provide a sustainable answer to the issue.  Predominantly used in healthcare, it is incredibly wasteful.  For example, a reusable gown used to protect healthcare frontline workers can be hygienically washed and reused around 75 times – and at end of life it may be recycled.  A single-use PPE gown gets used once and then becomes clinical waste that requires specialist disposal.  

“Employers need to carefully consider how they can ensure that their workforce’s protective equipment is competently maintained, to the manufacturer’s specification,” says Skariah.  “We need to ensure people using PPE are safe.  The UK’s workforce deserve to be protected.”

If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us either via email or phone: 

E tsa@tsa-uk.org

T +44 (0) 20 3151 5600

Laundry Cost Index: 2021/2022 FYQ1

Laundry Cost Index

Please see our latest published Laundry Cost Index for 2021/2022 FYQ1 below. Please note, as well as the Cost Index, a TSA Laundry Cost Index Bulletin for July 2021 has also been published to sit alongside the Cost Index. This statement has been produced to highlight the unprecedent cost pressures which are not reflected in the current Cost Index. A similar bulletin was produced last month as well and can be found here.  

If you have any queries or would like any further information, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us.

T: +44 (0)20 3151 5600
E: tsa@tsa-uk.org

We present Girbau University, a new landmark in specialised laundry training

12 July 2021

Girbau University is organised in broad lines of training, to provide a range of up-to-the-minute content, useful to the different segments in the world of laundry.

This training is open to any laundry professional and classes will be delivered both online and face-to-face.


13th July 2021. – Girbau, no. 1 in total solutions for industrial laundry, has launched Girbau University, its online laundry training platform with a specialised programme aimed at industry professionals and staffed by working trainers with extensive experience.

Through different learning paths, Girbau University offers training of all kinds, ranging from the most generalist, like courses in running and optimising a laundry and specific modules on disinfection, to programmes created for laundries with special features that require more specific know-how, like those in hotels, hospitals or care homes. The goal of this new platform is to become a place to learn to improve a laundry across the board, seeing it as both a workplace and a business.

Girbau University is therefore open to anybody interested in expanding their knowledge of laundry through a programme that includes courses of all kinds, both virtual – where every student can progress at their own pace module by module – to live webinars where they can ask the team of Laundry Experts about their doubts and queries.

Girbau University is available through three spaces: the Girbau Experience Center (GXC), with face-to-face training; the E-Learning platform, where students can use quality online material at their convenience; and finally the On Tour scheme, training delivered on-site to learners, so that they can work with their own machinery in their own businesses. It also offers short-term seminars, with the focus on current topics in order to keep up to date with everything to do with laundry.

This initiative reflects Girbau’s determination to be more than just a laundry machinery manufacturer, by designing innovative solutions for textile processing on the global market, always with a local focus, in order to help its customers, team and partners to grow, to create an open community striving for economic, social and environmental sustainability. Like this, Girbau University forms part of this determination to open up, share, build a community and progress together.

For further information visit:


Update from the TSA

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