TSA publishes guidance for care homes about laundry hygiene

Keeping care homes hygienic

Textile Services Association provides support for care homes looking to improve laundry hygiene

The Textile Services Association (TSA) has released guidance aimed at the care home sector to help explain how laundry helps control infections and how commercial laundries can help to raise hygiene standards.

This is part of the ongoing effort the TSA has made during the pandemic to help encourage high standards for hygiene in a number of sectors, including healthcare and hospitality.  The advice is based on research carried out by De Montfort University, in association with the TSA, which was aimed at determining the survivability of coronaviruses on various fabric types and laundry processes.

This research demonstrated that while model coronaviruses can survive in water at 60°C for ten minutes, when combined with the agitation washing machines impart and detergent, no trace of the virus was found at 40°C and above. However, other pathogens like C.difficile, B.cereus, E.faecium and so on will require further thermal disinfection.

For care homes looking to maximise their hygiene, the knowledge that professional wash processes effectively eliminate the infection risk from pathogens and coronaviruses is good news. However, it was also determined that the tested strain of coronavirus can remain infectious on polyester fabric for up to 72 hours, and 100% cotton for 24 hours. It’s also possible for polyester fabric to transfer the virus to other surfaces for up to 72 hours.

With this in mind, the TSA recommends that care homes review procedures for laundry, including the

loading and unloading of washing machines and the handling and storing of soiled and clean textiles, focusing on the need to reduce the chances of cross contamination. While each care home will have its own processes, common areas to focus on include bagging soiled items, separate storage areas for soiled and clean textiles, ensuring that collection and delivery times for laundry are different, and putting in rigorous procedures for sanitising all at risk areas.

The pandemic has hugely increased the importance of maintaining the strictest hygienic standards in care homes. While some care homes may be able to implement the kind of systems required to guarantee the safety of their laundry needs, from resident’s bedsheets, clothes etc. to staff uniforms, the services offered by commercial laundries provide a simple solution to these logistical issues.

The TSA has created a technical bulletin outlining the government’s advice, as well as breaking down the kind of steps care homes should consider as part of any risk assessment they take to improve the hygiene of their laundry procedures.

As well as this, the TSA will be running an interactive webinar later in the year allowing operators to ask a panel of industry experts questions related to laundry hygiene.

The bulletin can be downloaded here.

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

TSA launches #LaundryWithValues diversity survey

Survey will take snapshot of the industry’s attitude to itself and matters of diversity

The Textile Services Association (TSA) has teamed up with Brands with Values, an organisational culture experience company, to launch the Laundry with Values survey. This is aimed at discovering how the commercial laundry industry perceives itself and what values it holds, with a particular focus on inclusion.

Brands with Values has developed a survey methodology that can help organisations to understand the attitudes and values of their employees, called the Culture Decoder. It is a simple three question, values-based assessment, tried and tested by FTSE 500 companies, which asks respondents to pick their answer from a specially chosen list of words.

The study will analyse how employees perceive the culture of their current organisation, which values are most important to them and their overall perceptions of the culture of the laundry industry.

The TSA hopes to get responses from hundreds of laundry employees at all levels to ensure everyone, from owners to factory staff, is represented in the survey results. This can be achieved by promoting it within companies and by building awareness by discussing it online with the hashtag #LaundryWithValues.

“The importance of these issues to the laundry industry has been increasing, as it has within society as a whole,” says David Stevens, Chief Executive of the TSA. “This survey will help the industry to lead the way and continue with the work it’s already doing by setting a benchmark that it can measure itself against in the future.”

The survey will run until for several weeks. The results will then be analysed, and preliminary findings will be presented at the National Congress of the TSA on the 10th November, to be held at the Marriott Forest of Arden Hotel & Country Club. The survey is completely anonymous and will only be analysed on an industry basis. The information will remain private and no other companies or organisations will be given access to it.

The survey can be found here and further information can be found on the TSA’s website.

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

TSA warns of ‘alarming’ energy price rises for commercial laundries

Price increases could hit hospitality, healthcare and industrial customers

The TSA (Textile Services Association) says that the rapidly rising energy prices will have a significant impact on laundries and describes the increases as ‘alarming’.  They come at a time when commercial laundries are struggling to meet demand, in the face of staff shortages and rising costs in raw materials, linen and wages.  They could result in even more pressure on prices for commercial laundry customers in the hospitality, healthcare and industrial markets.

“Energy typically amounts to around 10% of a laundry’s cost base – but the increases we are facing are off the scale,” says David Stevens, CEO of the TSA.  “They make the previous record highs of 2004 pale into insignificance.”

For example, in March 2021 the cost per therm of gas was around 42p.  Today the cost has breached 160p.  Similarly, electricity in March was around £54 per MWh.  Today’s settlement price is around £140 per MWh.  “It doesn’t end there,” says Stevens.  “The first week of September saw sixteen settlement (half hourly) periods with pricing in excess of £1000 per MWh.   Nine of these were above £3000 per MWh.  The highest was an incredible £4000 MWh.”

To make matters worse, currently the energy network is in a low demand phase – winter will see more demand and the pressure will mount on an already limited supply. There are a variety of reasons for the dramatic increases.  Key is a lack of supply throughout Europe, combined with a boom in demand from Asia, especially for LNG (Liquid Natural Gas).  In addition, recent poor weather and lack of wind has meant that renewable energy sources have been hit.

Fox Energy is one of the specialist suppliers working with commercial laundries.  Paul Dilley, a director at Fox, says, “The energy markets are reaching extraordinary highs with no sign of returning to normal any time soon.  Any business renewing a contract in the next six months may be at a significant disadvantage compared to those that have fixed contracts that were set when the market was substantially lower, even just a few months ago.

“We have been working with the laundry sector for many years and we have never seen anything like this before.  Sadly, it’s a trend we may see continuing through this winter season.”

The TSA is recommending that all laundries should make urgent allowances for these increases and contact their supplier or broker for advice.  “This is especially important for those on flexible energy contracts or that have existing fully fixed energy contracts due to expire within the next 6 months,” says Stevens.

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

Laundries warn hospitality industry: price rises are inevitable

‘Massive inflationary pressures’ as costs and shortages hit commercial laundries

The commercial laundries serving the hospitality and leisure industries have been looking forward to the bounce back, following lockdowns that saw them suffer more than many sectors due to government indifference.  But now they are warning that cost increases and labour shortages are crippling the recovery, and that they are being forced into increasing their prices. 

“There are massive inflationary pressures bearing down on our industry,” says David Stevens, CEO of the Textile Services Association (TSA), which represents commercial laundries in the UK.  “Commercial laundries are already on their knees, having had virtually no government help through lockdowns, despite seeing volumes drop by up to 80%. 

“Now they’re being hit by price increases they can’t absorb – they simply don’t have the resources.” 

The cost increases faced by laundries cover just about every area of operation and amount to double digit inflation.  Labour shortages have led to wages going up by between 10% and 25%.  Chemical costs are up 15%.  Many laundries also supply textiles services such as linen hire to the hospitality industry.  Here the prices are skyrocketing, with sheeting and bedding up by 55% and container freight costs by 300%. 

In response to the acute labour shortage the TSA is lobbying government to allow greater access to overseas workers and has requested further classifications of workers to be added to the shortage occupations list.  Despite support from the CBI and UKHospitality, Stevens is not hopeful.  “Don’t hold your breath,” he says.  “The government’s Brexit agenda means that, at least in the short term, it’s highly unlikely that we will get access to the European labour market.”    

As if labour shortages weren’t enough, the pingdemic has decimated the laundry workforce, putting even more pressure on the sector. 

UKHospitality is aware of the situation, saying that 94% of hospitality businesses are already experiencing difficulties with the supply chain, through shortages, delays and inflation.   For the hotels, restaurants and health clubs that rely on commercial laundries, price increases seem inevitable.   The TSA has published an information bulletin to inform end users of the likely impact.  It’s available to download for free from tsa-uk.org/laundry-cost-index

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

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

TSA Knowledge Network Open Day

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TSA Knowledge Network Open Day

We were delighted to announce the date of TSA’s Knowledge Network Open Day in our January and February TSA CEO updates. 17th March 2021 will be packed full of great topics and panel discussions all through the day. The 2020 KN Open Day was the last in-person event we were able to host before the lockdown. We hope to carry on the same enthusiasm and engagement this year as well. The virtual event provides us with flexible options where we can invite targeted audience for the topic of their interest at specific time slots. We will also have a TSA web landing page where you will see all the details and registration links. We hope to cover topics such as Managing CTWs Safely, Healthcare Processing Standards, Energy Efficiency, Diversity, Apprenticeship etc.

Please share this with your colleagues and teams for whom the topics below may be of interest.

Please note, WebEx has changed their registration form slightly, therefore when you have clicked the registration button below for your chosen session, please ignore the meeting password and click straight on the blue register button as show in the image below. If you have any issues registering, please call Emma on 0754 322 0302.

Day Programme and How to Register:

Time and Topics
Register

9:15am (20 mins)
Opening Session (relevant to all):

• Welcome
• Technical & Projects Updates
• Future projects
• Current projects
Register Here
Time and Topics
Who is it For?
Register

9:45am (60 mins)
Health & Safety:

• Latest Statistics
• CTW Management
• TSA Resources
• Managing Covid-19 related H&S claims
• Q&A Session (TSA Steering Group)

Senior Managers
Transport Managers
Engineer / Managers
Health & Safety Teams
Production Managers
General Managers
Register Here

11:00am (60 mins)
Driving the Healthcare Standards

• Implementing BS EN 14065
• Preparing for certification
• New Opportunities

Quality Managers
Production Managers
General Managers
Business Development Managers
Register Here

12:30pm (40 mins)
Circular Economy – End-of-Life Textiles (Recycling)

• Why do this project?
• TSA Survey results
• Logistics (Circletex?)
• Marketing the key messages

Senior Managers
Quality Managers
Transport Managers
Marketing Managers
Register Here

2:00pm (45 mins)
Energy Efficiency

• Climate Change Targets (Jacobs)
• Grant funding / Carbon Trust
• Energy audits
• Latest technologies

Engineer / Managers
Energy Procurement Teams
Production Managers
General Managers
Register Here

3:00pm (30 mins)
Inclusion and Diversity

• Women in the industry
• Diversity
• Mental Health

HR Directors
Change Managers
Senior Managers
Register Here

3:45pm (45 mins)
Apprenticeship

• Role of TSA’s Trailblazer group
• Online training delivery
• End point assessment

Senior Managers
Training Managers
HR Managers
Register Here

 

As mentioned, please forward this on to your colleagues and teams for whom the topics above may be of interest. Each session is going to be managed separate to one another. You are free to attend all the sessions. However, the day programme is designed for the attendees to be selective.

We look forward to seeing you there.

If you wish to discuss the above or if you would like any further information, please do not hesitate to contact us on 020 3151 5600 or at tsa@tsa-uk.org.

GOVERNMENT GREEN LIGHT FOR REUSABLE PPE GOWNS COULD SAVE NHS £1BN+ A YEAR

TSA welcomes DHSC decision after months of lobbying, but warns it’s a ‘slow burner’

 

After months of lobbying by the Textile Services Association (TSA), the Department of Health and Social Care has confirmed that reusable gowns are now part of its official PPE strategy.   The TSA has long argued that reusable gowns make economic sense – they can be laundered and reused up to 75 times and the difference in cost is, as the DHSC itself says, ‘modest’.  At the same time reusable PPE gowns are far better for the environment.  While disposable gowns are creating, each year, an estimated 45 million tonnes of clinical waste that needs to be burnt, reusable ones are the far more sustainable option as they can be recycled at end of life.

“Everyone we spoke to in the cabinet office, civil service and government agreed with our argument, but they didn’t take it anywhere,” says David Stevens, CEO of the TSA.  In early October, the DHSC published its Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Strategy, in which it mentions reusable PPE on several occasions.  However, as Stevens points out, they didn’t exactly shout it from the hilltops – and the policy of sourcing and using disposables has continued, despite recent media furore about the contracts involved.

Now, however, Stevens has had the policy on reusable PPE gowns confirmed at the highest level.  “A spokesperson from NHSI England acknowledged that we are pushing at an open door – the problem is, there still doesn’t seem to be much progress. On the plus side, the DHSC says it wants to see an increase in reusable gowns and talks about developing a comprehensive business model, with commercial laundries central to delivering the strategy.  It’s also working with the UK textile industry and universities on developing the use of new materials, such as graphene.

Stevens adds, “While the news that the DHSC is so supportive of reusable PPE gowns is very welcome, it comes with a health warning: this is a slow burner and, going by past experience, could take a long time to come to fruition.  That’s why the TSA is going to keep on pushing.” 

The TSA is now having regular calls with the NHS Improvement team to drive the use of reusable PPE gowns further up the agenda.  Currently, as part of the DHSC official PPE strategy, NHS England is piloting the use of reusable gowns with twenty providers, with sixty more waiting to join the pilot, working alongside laundry suppliers to increase the proportion of reusable gowns in the system and reduce waste of single use gowns.

Meanwhile, the TSA has published a short guide on multi-use PPE gowns, detailing how the reusable gowns could be made in the UK (currently most disposable PPE comes from overseas) and cleaned in commercial laundries to ensure they are safe for reuse.  The Guide, ‘The Case for Reusable Gowns… there’s a better way’, explains the difference between disposable and reusable gowns, and gives stark statistics – including the potential saving to the NHS of £1.2bn per year.  The Guide is available to download from here

If you wish to discuss the above or if you would like any further information, please do not hesitate to contact us on  020 3151 5600 or at tsa@tsa-uk.org.

Could ‘clean’ healthcare uniforms be COVID-19 carriers?

TSA backs calls for research into textiles and infection control; ‘PHE should revise 2007 guidelines’

The Textile Services Association (TSA) is backing urgent calls for research into the ability of infectious diseases, including COVID-19, to survive on linen and clothing, even after it is washed in a domestic setting.  It’s especially concerning because many nurses and care home workers wash their uniforms at home – and there is evidence that some infection outbreaks in healthcare settings have been caused by inadequately managed washing equipment.  The TSA is also calling for Public Health England to revise guidelines the Association believes are outdated.

Currently Public Health England recommends uniforms are washed in commercial laundries, but it is not compulsory.  Furthermore, it says that domestic washing should be adequate.  However, this is based on reviews published in 2007 – and experts are saying that, especially in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s high time for proper research that will give accurate guidance on the matter. There is also increasing consensus within the research community that the infrastructure, processes and quality standards in a commercial laundry mean they are much better equipped to deal with all the risks associated with infectious textiles than is possible in a household or on-premises laundry setting.

“It can’t be right to base guidance on reviews that were done 13 years ago,” says David Stevens, CEO of the Textile Services Association.  The TSA is currently conducting a survey of care home owners to find out about their current practices.  The Association is also working with the DHSC, who have agreed to review the infection control procedures around laundry.  “They have said they would welcome a revised guidance document that can be issued to the care home sector,” says Stevens.

“When it comes to best practice for health workers who are laundering their uniforms at home, the PHE guidance is onerous,” Stevens adds.  “It says that workers should transport the uniform in a disposable plastic bag, and wash at the highest temperature it can tolerate, in a separate half load, and it should be ironed or tumble dried.   It’s a lot to ask of a tired worker just home from a stressful shift.”

Previous research by Dr Katie Laird of De Montfort University (DMU) found that healthcare workers were not always adhering to these policies when laundering at home, underlining the risk of inadequate decontamination.  It showed 44% of workers were laundering their uniforms at temperatures below 60°C, and 40% laundered them with other clothing items.

The most recent paper on the subject was published in August 2020 by Dr Laird and her colleague, Dr Lucy Owen from the Infectious Disease Research Group at DMU.  They point out the need for even more rigorous infection control, following the emergence of COVID-19, and underline the lack of empirical research into the role of textiles as potential fomites (infection carriers) in healthcare environments.  Furthermore, they reference a number of studies that indicate that microorganisms can survive on textiles for extended periods of time, and case studies that link outbreaks with inadequate washing processes and infrastructure in on-premise healthcare settings. This is important because it underlines the infection control benefits of the measures taken in a commercial laundry, compared to those in a domestic or on-premise setting.

The article, called The role of textiles as fomites in the healthcare environment: a review of the infection control risk, is available to download here

“Given what the experts are saying, surely we should be erring on the side of caution and ensuring that healthcare workers’ uniforms are washed in commercial laundries, with the appropriate hygiene certification,” says Stevens.  “We will be lobbying the government and PHE to fund research to establish the facts, or at the very least to revise the current guidelines.”

If you wish to discuss the above or if you would like any further information, please do not hesitate to contact us on  020 3151 5600 or at tsa@tsa-uk.org.

Hospitality Laundries Charge to the Rescue of the NHS and Care Homes

New hygiene certification means UK laundries can help healthcare sector through C-19 crisis

Over thirty hospitality laundries have already signed up to a new certification scheme that will allow them to help the UK’s health and social care system  manage the increasing amount of dirty linens and textiles that is being created by the Covid-19 pandemic.  The demand is expected to rise in the coming weeks considering the Government strategy to move from disposable to reusable PPE gowns.  Meanwhile, the Department of Health and Social Care is looking to use commercial laundries to ensure all adult social care facilities have access to hygienically cleaned and safe linens and textiles.

Textile Services Association (TSA), which represents the UK’s commercial laundries, has developed the scheme in consultation with NHSI (NHS Improvement) and other Government departments.  Called the Interim Healthcare Laundry Certification (IHLC), it gives laundries that normally serve the hospitality sector a fast track to the specialist standards of hygiene required by the NHS, care homes and other medical facilities.

“C-19 has created unprecedented levels of healthcare laundry, which requires specialist processing,” says David Stevens, CEO of the TSA.  “The increase was in the order of half a million PPE gowns every day at the peak of this pandemic.  Plus there are the uniforms, towels, bed linen and patients’ clothes.  To cope with that, the UK needs more specialist laundries.”

Under normal circumstances, laundries that want to service the healthcare sector need to achieve BS EN 14065 certification.  This is the standard that specifies the appropriate approach to managing bio-contamination risks and providing fit-for-purpose textiles with sufficient microbiological quality.  However, the urgent requirement for more laundry capacity, due to C-19, led to the creation of the new, fast track certification.

To achieve the Interim Healthcare Laundry Certification, laundries need to meet the requirements of the Department of Health’s technical memorandum HTM 01-04: Decontamination of Linen for Health and Social Care.  This provides a clear path for commercial laundries to prove they consistently decontaminate healthcare linen and manage related risks to patient safety.  The TSA has published a guidance document, Interim Healthcare Laundry Certification / Response to COVID-19, which gives full details on how laundries can meet these requirements.

“We want to ensure the laundry industry is ready to service the increasing needs of the healthcare sector,” says Stevens.  “We are delighted that so many laundries have already taken up the scheme, and we expect more to follow.”

There will be even more need for this support, with the massive increase in healthcare laundry requirements as the UK switches from disposable PPE gowns to reusable ones.  “It’s something we’ve been campaigning for over the last few months,” says Stevens.  “Reusable gowns are just as safe, they are much cheaper in the long run and they are better for the environment – disposable PPE is creating millions of tonnes of clinical waste.

“We’ve been working with the Cabinet Office and NHSI as they switch supply away from single use to these more robust and sustainable multi use products.  At the same time, we’ve been talking to the DHSC in the first steps towards a long-term partnership with the aim of bringing hygienically safe textile services to all the UK’s healthcare sectors, including adult social care facilities.  We now need to ensure that every healthcare facility in the country can have a certified laundry service.”

The hospitality laundry sector has been crushed by the C-19 lockdown, which saw virtually 100% of its business disappear overnight as hotels, restaurants and sports facilities closed.  “The good news for the UK is that there is plenty of capacity in the commercial laundry industry, so we can cope with the increased demand from the health sector,” says Stevens.  “The new interim certification will ensure these laundries are meeting the strict standards healthcare demands.”

The TSA’s guidance document, Interim Healthcare Laundry Certification / Response to COVID-19, is available to download here.

If you wish to discuss the above or if you would like any further information, please do not hesitate to contact us on  020 3151 5600 or at tsa@tsa-uk.org.