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.”

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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.

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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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Diversity, sustainability, HR, Covid, and more on exceptional conference programme

It’s live, in person: the TSA Conference returns, after a hiatus of 24 months, in September 2021.  Taking place at the Ardencote Hotel and Spa, Warwickshire, 28-29 September, this is the TSA’s first live conference since Autumn 2019, following the cancellation of the Spring 2020 event due to Covid.  So there’s plenty of catching up to do and the conference agenda offers an exceptionally bold, strong and insightful programme.

With its Diversity and Inclusion campaign very much in mind, the TSA has secured an outstanding speaker for the keynote address.  Nigel Owens MBE is widely regarded as Rugby Union’s best ever referee.  He was also the first openly gay man to come out in professional rugby.  He’ll talk about diversity, equality and mental health and his presentation is not to be missed.

Need advice on the subject of negotiation?  Whether with employees, business partners or customers, for people in the know Suzanne Williams QPM is the go-to choice. The former Scotland Yard detective has worked with governments at the highest level in cases of kidnap and abduction.  She’ll bring all her experience and expertise to explore the themes of listening effectively and how to get the best outcomes out of business situations.

Olivia Flattery’s presentation covers HR, keeping compliant and getting the most out of your team.  She’ll also give Conference an update on the latest HR trends and regulations, as well as talking about her role with the TSA, providing members with HR support.

Sustainability is a key challenge for the textile industry and Matt Hanrahan, CEO of Reskinned Resources, will outline plans to provide a 100% solution to textile recycling.  Reskinned has been working with the TSA to develop the circular textile economy, using innovative recycling processes.

Adding to the Conference mix is a variety of shorter, informative presentations covering subjects as diverse as textile industry knowledge networks and public relations.  There will also be a panel discussion covering Covid.

The main conference is on Wednesday 29th September.  On Tuesday 28th the TSA will host the industry dinner including entertainment, with a debut gig for the industry band ‘Mark Stains and the Rejects.’

For more information and to book spaces, visit the events section.  Places are limited so early booking is strongly recommended.  Costs are £80 for the conference only and £120 for the conference and dinner.  For accommodation contact the Ardencote Hotel direct.  TSA has secured a room rate of £90.

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


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Diversity and Inclusion: TSA calls for action

Commercial laundries commit to re-balancing the gender and racial ratios

“The numbers speak for themselves – in commercial laundries, on the shop floor, the gender balance is 50:50.  At board level it’s 80:20, in favour of men,” says Emma Andersson, membership manager of the Textile Services Association (TSA), which represents commercial laundries.  “The race ratio figures also are being reviewed and we expect to see a similar imbalance.”

The TSA is launching a series of initiatives designed to help re-balance the industry, to get more women and BAME employees into management and board positions.  The association has established a Diversity and Inclusion working group.  Its vision is to change the face of the industry, pushing a more diverse and inclusive approach, where balanced leadership is the new norm.  Andersson is taking a leading role in the initiative.  “By educating and empowering individuals we can create an environment where everyone can thrive.” 

The TSA is backing its concept with action.  At a recent Diversity and Inclusion workshop, attended by directors and managers representing commercial laundries across the UK, a series of tools and strategies were discussed that could be initiated within their own organisations.   The workshop was led by the CBI’s head of diversity and inclusion, Adeife Onwuzulike.  Areas that were considered included what language to use, unconscious bias, data collection, and the need for leaders to engage in and encourage the process. 

“Over 70% of the industry was represented at the workshop and the feedback has been 100% positive,” says Andersson.  “I am delighted that members are on board with the initiative and acknowledge the action that needs to be taken.”

Rebecca Morgan is head of HR at Johnson’s Hotel Linen and is on the TSA’s Women in the Industry Group.  She says, “We at Johnsons Hotel Linen are proud to support the TSA’s project groups on Women in the Industry and Diversity and Inclusion.  The TSA has recognised that, as an industry, we need to promote and encourage representation across all levels of the business.  We are keen to fully support the Association on this journey.”

In other moves, the TSA signed up to the CBI’s ‘Change the Race Ratio’ back in November 2020.  Now the association is undertaking an industry survey to get a proper understanding of the situation.  Once that’s analysed, TSA will be using the information to focus on areas where a positive change can be achieved. 

At the upcoming TSA Conferences and events there will be more focus on a diverse  guest speaker programme, and profiles of successful inclusion stories will be shared.  There will also be a drive to get women and BAME employees to attend, as well as a campaign to encourage them to take part in training courses to advance their careers and personal development. 

“We have to acknowledge that there is work to be done here,” says Andersson.  “These are the first steps on a long journey.  But we are moving in the right direction.” 

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


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The situation is getting better; meanwhile Association works with CBI to lobby government

The Textile Services Association (TSA) has wholeheartedly celebrated the bounce back of the hospitality industry, saying that commercial laundries have seen a dramatic increase in demand.  However, it has warned that while the recovery is welcomed, it is bringing supply issues.  Consequently it has partnered with UKHospitality to issue advice for hospitality operators covering some temporary actions they can consider to alleviate the pressure on their laundry provider.

“The problem is that we’ve been asked to jump from dead slow to full speed overnight,” says David Stevens, CEO of the TSA.  “To be fair, we’ve been warning that there could be issues for several months.  The total lack of government support for the laundry industry means some of our members are really struggling with staffing, the shortage of drivers, supply chain issues, capacity issues due to operating covid-secure factories, and so on.”  

Here is the TSA’s advice on temporary actions hospitality operators can take to support their laundry providers:

  • Talk to your laundry provider to consider how to manage the situation and temporarily reduce your linen requirements. For example: 

            Encourage multi-night stays 

            Review bed change policy 

            Reduce linen required for room make up  

  • Sell up to the occupancy levels your laundry supplier can deliver linen at 
  • Send back any unused stock 
  • Keep the laundry informed of upstream occupancy levels 
  • Give plenty of notice for events and F&B requirements, such as weddings 
  • Understand some laundries may have cash flow issues; prompt payment may really help
  • If possible, give the laundry time to adapt to the increase in demand

The TSA says that the laundry supply issues are not being felt throughout the UK – some regions have been able to get up to speed more quickly than others.   

“Where supply issues do exist, we expect the situation to improve rapidly over the coming weeks,” says Stevens.  “With good communication and cooperation, we expect laundries to recover quickly.  We are incredibly grateful for the hospitality industry’s understanding during this difficult time.”

In common with many other sectors, especially the hospitality industry, laundries are struggling with staffing issues – a combination of problems created by both the pandemic and Brexit.  The TSA is working with the CBI to lobby government to get laundry operatives to be added to the Shortage Occupations List.

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


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Update from the TSA

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David Winter takes over from Ian Stubbs as General Manager JENSEN UK

26 May 2021

Ian Stubbs has been very successfully managing JENSEN UK for the past 15 years. He has now been promoted to Head of Large Projects for the JENSEN-GROUP, as of June 1. His position as General Manager JENSEN UK will be taken over by David Winter, also as of June 1.

David will soon move with his family to Oxfordshire that he left in 2006 when he accepted a position with JENSEN USA. He has been the General Manager of JENSEN Middle East since 2015, overseeing all sales and service activities in the area.

“I am thrilled to be heading JENSEN UK and to work with my new team to support all our customers in the UK and Ireland, I look forward to being back home” confirms David Winter.

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Mental Health – Resources Available

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