What types of floor mats does your facility need?

Although floor mats are generally used for protection, decoration and comfort in private homes, did you know that having the right kind of mat can be used to improve your workplace safety, hygiene, and employee well-being?

The use of strategically placed floor mats can increase your organisation’s productivity and improve hygiene. A lot of thought is put into creating the perfect environment for your employees, with standing desks, ergonomic chairs and the like, but organisations rarely look at what could be done below our feet to enhance their employee’s work experience, especially if a majority of their shift is spent standing.

So what kind of mats are available and how can it help my organisation and employees?

Service Not Purchase

The first thing to consider is whether simply buying a few mats outright is the right solution for your business. Whilst it is a one-off purchase, you need to remember that these mats will get dirty and worn quickly – and you need to clean these just as stringently as any other item or surface in your business, especially during any time where hygiene is of paramount importance.  That is why a managed service is the best solution for many organisations, so that they can benefit from the improved floor solutions at the same time as benefiting from the peace of mind of regular replacement and professional cleaning.

Once you have made the choice to have a managed service, though, you still need to choose the mats themselves!

Wet Area Mats

Designed for areas that are frequently wet, whether it is from the nature of the job or the weather, having a wet area mat provides a safe barrier to prevent any slips occurring in your workplace. These mats are carefully designed for the environment they are in, with holes in to allow liquids to flow through, ensuring traction remains high for maximum skid or slip resistance. Ideal for wet markets, restaurants, bars, commercial kitchens and factories, these mats are made from durable, quick-drying, antimicrobial rubber, to ensure maximum staff safety.

Alsco’s Wet Area Mats:

  • Are highly resistant to oils, solvents and water
  • Fight off bacteria growth with anti-microbial properties
  • Reduce pressure and strains with a cushioned design
  • Textured, gripping material for safety
  • Permeable to allow scraps and liquids to pass through

Anti Fatigue Mats

Wet Area & Anti Fatigue Mat

Often your staff can be on their feet all day, which can lead to fatigue, leg and back pain, tiredness and reduced productivity – even to sick leave if problems escalate. Ideal for areas where staff are standing for a long period of time such as bars, retail and hotel receptions, these mats can also be more specialised to serve more than its original intended purpose, e.g. Wet area anti fatigue mats.

Alsco’s Anti Fatigue Mats:

  • Are Designed to be comfortable and minimise injury
  • Have an antimicrobial treatment that stays with the mat it’s whole life
  • Are textured for grip and safety
  • Have bevelled edges for safe step up

Dust Control and Floor Protection Mats

Dust Control Mat

The busiest areas in your workspace are often the dirtiest due to high foot traffic. Ideal for the front doorways and entrances to your hallways, dust control mats trap 80% of dirt, dust and water before it’s tracked right around the organisation – and before that dirt is spread throughout the building!

Alsco’s Dust Control and Floor Protection Mats:

  • Are environmentally friendly, made from recycled PET bottles
  • Won’t stain or fade
  • Have super absorption qualities
  • Lay flat every time
  • Have a choice of backing patterns to ensure they stay in place on all surfaces

Get in touch with Alsco today to organise floor mats for your organisation! Our range of high quality, technologically advanced mats will save your business cleaning costs, eliminate the need to replace expensive flooring and help keep your staff and customers safe.

Decrease contamination by outsourcing your uniform laundry needs

Chef wearing uniform

Cross contamination in the health care and food and beverage industries is steadily increasing and causing significant health concerns. Employees are wearing their uniforms outside of their work environment, uniforms are not being washed correctly and surfaces are not being cleaned regularly.  But how can you guarantee hygienic uniforms are available when you need them?

Protect the health of your employees, customers and the public by outsourcing your uniform laundry needs. At Alsco, we have a managed uniform rental service, which sees us providing clean uniforms for your staff. When the items are soiled, Alsco will return and pick up the dirty uniforms and provide you with clean ones, all processed by one of our HACCP accredited facilities.

Most companies don’t realise how easy it is to cross contaminate their clothing or other materials. So why don’t we run through a typical day of, for example, a waiter who works in front of house at a restaurant.

They wake up, eat breakfast, have a shower and get dressed. If their work clothes were not washed correctly (washed at a minimum of 60 degrees for 10 minutes, with laundry detergent), their uniform is already contaminated from the previous shift and has probably already contaminated any other item it was washed with. Given that most domestic washing machines have “quick” cycles, often on cold wash or 30 degrees, this is a hidden issue that is often ignored.

The individual then leaves the house, uses public transport to get to work. While on the bus, their clothes will have most likely picked up other bacteria, pet hair and germs commonly found in public environments. They have now arrived at the restaurants’ kitchen, ready to start their shift. They may put an apron on (if brought with them from home, this is most likely contaminated as well), on top of their clothing that looks visibly cleaned, however is far from it.

Bacteria and germs can then be passed to customers, through shaking hands with customers, when their meals are served to them or when the table is set before the customers have sat down; as well as to other staff in the restaurant both in the kitchen and on the floor, depending on the layout. This is just the journey of one restaurant waiter, with countless other possibilities of cross contamination that could have also happened.

If laundry of the uniforms were outsourced, staff are required to leave the uniforms in their work environment, ensuring that they are not bringing any of the bacteria on their uniforms, with them on their journey home. Uniforms are also washed at the correct temperature, ensuring the maximum possible amount of bacteria has been killed. Any new uniform they wear at the start of their shift, has been professionally cleaned.

By using a uniform rental company for food & beverage wear, pharmaceutical garments, medical wear or industrial workwear, you are able to better protect the public. Decision makers in these industries need to consider the risks against the benefits. Although it may be cheaper for employees to purchase their own uniforms, is it worth harming the public for your benefit?

Let Alsco handle your uniform needs and thus decrease countless cross contamination possibilities and increase the health and safety of your workers!

COVID-19: Employers Guide for Returning to Work

The time has come for companies to start thinking about getting their staff back to work. Rules and regulations are finally relaxing, to try and get normality into everyone’s lives again. But where do you start? What do you need to know to ensure a safe and hygienic workplace for your employees?

Regulations are different for each industry, depending on how close you’re required to get to other individuals. For some such as hairdressers or nail technicians, it is crucial for employees to return to the business premise in order to provide the service, while for office based employees, services can still be provided from those working from home depending on the company and circumstances.

Firstly, a COVIDSafe plan needs to be developed prior to staff returning to work. The National COVID-19 Coordination Commission has created a template which businesses can use to prepare. The toolkit comprises three sections; keeping people safe, adapting your business for COVID-19 and advice on accessing support and assistance. The template includes links to regulations and information that is regularly updated to ensure your business is on top and aware of any changes and helps you prepare for different states of the pandemic. It should be revised frequently, particularly when restrictions and conditions change.

Some employees may be hesitant to return to work, fearing that their health may be at risk with the increase of social interaction. Employers need to reassure their staff that a COVIDSafe plan has been created to prevent the spread of Coronavirus, while still being mindful of their employees health and wellbeing, especially if they are deemed vulnerable. 

If possible, employers could plan a staged introduction with portions of staff returning at different times. A rotating schedule with different groups of employees working at the office during different days of the week is a great start. Employers should enquire about their employees’ mode of transport into work. For those that require public transport, they should be allowed to start at staggered times, in order to avoid peak hour on public transport systems. 

With modern open plan workplaces, employees are usually seated in close physical contact with one another. Physical setup of offices should be rethought to ensure regulations around social distancing, employee gatherings and hygiene practises are still met. Social distancing regulations recommend a minimum of 1.5 metres between individuals which can affect general office setups, hot desks and shared spaces like the lunch room. 

At Alsco, we’ve been providing hygienic and sanitised professional textile rental services throughout Australia since 1963. Known for our commitment to cleanliness and hygiene, excellence in service, and our friendly approach, we’re here to help you through this. Get in touch with us today if you require a commercial linen service, an uniform rental range, corporate clothing, chef uniforms and rubber floor matting to assist in your workplace getting back to normal.

An Eco-Friendly Solution: Why Choosing Alsco is good for the Environment

2020 is the year of the environment. More and more individuals are becoming aware and eager to learn about the fragility of the environment and how they can protect it. 90% of Australians are concerned about the environment and its sustainability. With 85% of the Australian population living along the coastline, we’re surrounded with natural beauty everywhere. Companies are scurridly assessing their input resources, outgoing products and business processes, examining if they can be more environmentally friendly in any areas of the business. Individuals are willing to spend more on certain brands if they are environmentally friendly, allowing them to believe they’re doing their part to help the planet. 

Our latest environmentally friendly actions include:

  • Decreased energy usage of our newest facilities by 63%
  • Using up to 50% less water and 30% less chemicals by improving our water reuse systems
  • Creating and using more optimal delivery routes for lower gas consumption, emissions, and overall carbon footprint
  • Offering 100% PVC-free mats and facility products and adhering to the strict standards and certifications of Green Seal, Eco Logo, Design for the Environment, Enviro Kleen, and the National Floor Safety Institute.

We’ve also created an Ecosafe Washer, where oil and grease are turned into water and carbon dioxide (bio remediation). Reducing the need for harmful solvents, our Ecosafe Washer ensures a safer workplace where you can clean soiled parts without breathing in or touching dangerous hydrocarbons. With the non-solvent, there are no possible side effects which can harm individuals, while reducing the need for waste disposal and any further contamination. Alsco’s Ecosafe Washer is the safer, economical solution for cleaning oils and greases off mechanical parts without harming the environment.

At Alsco, we also provide a managed rental uniform service. Our rented uniforms are washed and repaired professionally, ensuring they last longer than traditional uniforms or any uniforms maintained by your employees. Having uniforms that last longer is one way of conserving resources and taking care of the environment. 

We are all about helping Australian businesses, the community and the environment. We are constantly working on how we can improve our products and services to help the environment. We’re here to help you create cleaner and healthier workplaces, which benefits your staff and the environment.

Returning to Work During COVID-19 – Things to Consider

As restrictions are easing around the country, the time has come for businesses to start preparing and thinking about how to get their staff back into work. With social distancing measures still in full force and the cold season on it’s way, what can staff members do to keep themselves protected and healthy while returning to work?

Mental Health and Wellbeing

With the uncertainty of the future, some individuals may feel anxious about returning to work. We don’t know what the future holds for us and our work, which can trigger unnecessary worrying and for some lead to physical symptoms. Getting back out into society may trigger panic attacks or revive past conditions such as obsessive compulsive disorders. For those experiencing anxiety, giving up control may help. However this is easier said than done. With constant news bombarding us on every new statistic about the pandemic, the worry keeps increasing that if they go out they may get infected. While there is an element of risk, washing hands for the recommended amount of time and frequency and wearing a mask are a great start. It is important to keep social distancing practices in mind when you are out in public in order to give yourself the best protection you can. 

Public Transport

As workers start preparing to go back into work, the use of public transport increases. Some restrictions are being placed on the number of individuals allowed on buses, trains and ferries, but if possible public transport should be avoided. For those that have no other option, maintaining social distancing while using public transport and staying home if unwell is highly recommended. Avoid crowded lifts and escalators and consider checking the capacity of your service on an app or live tracker before boarding to ensure social distancing is able to be maintained. 

Shared Workspaces

For some offices, shared desks or ‘hot’ desks are common. The practise of changing desks daily used to be exciting and fun, however with recent events employees should remain at one desk and ‘claim’ their space. The flow between collaboration spaces, meeting rooms and kitchens should be managed, ensuring only a limited number of individuals are using it at one time. 

Effective communication between staff, employees and customers are essential in these times. Employers should be empathetic when considering employee safety, mental and physical wellbeing and managing staff engagement. At Alsco, we’ve been providing hygienic and sanitised professional textile rental services throughout Australia since 1963. Get in touch with us today, to see how we can help your business remain clean and hygienic during these times!

Adapting Post Covid: Restaurant Hygiene – Recommendations for Reopening

With restrictions around the country easing, restaurants and bars are starting to open up with certain conditions. For most individuals, the opportunity to have a drink or dine out is an exciting prospect, but what should restaurants be doing to maintain the utmost hygiene and social distancing standards? We’ve listed some recommendations for restaurants to consider when reopening.

Firstly no part of COVID-19 is a foodborne disease. It can only be spread from person to person, through coughing, touching contaminated surfaces or being in close proximity with an infected individual.

Food Safety

Food safety has always been a priority for the restaurant industry, for both customers and employees. Communal self-serve stations are great nesting grounds for bacteria due to the large number of touch points between a large variety of individuals. Self service buffet style foods, salad bars, cutlery and glass stations should be removed or access monitored. Drinking water should be provided at the table rather than self service stations. 

Cleaning and Sanitation

A thorough detailed cleaning of the entire premise is recommended, especially if the business has been closed for a period of time. Cleaning and disinfecting should be focused on high contact areas frequently, with seldom touch areas also being cleaned as often as possible. Ensure cleaning materials are of disinfectant strength (check the label), while avoiding surfaces containing food when cleaning. 

Between seatings, condiments such as sugar, salt and pepper should be cleaned or kept separately and only provided when customers request it. Digital ordering devices, door handles, table tops, menus, and back of chairs should also be cleaned between seatings. Single use items should immediately be discarded, with paper menus being discarded. Restrooms should be cleaned and sanitised based on frequency of use. It is also a good initiative to make hand sanitisers readily available for all customers.

Monitoring Employee Health and Personal Hygiene

Employees should be encouraged to remain at home if they’re sick and be excluded from work until they are deemed safe to return by a health professional. Employers should also implement a pre-work screening process before the start of each shift. Symptoms of COVID-19, include fever, coughing, sore throat and shortness of breath and any individuals presenting these should immediately get tested. Training should be conducted on appropriate cleaning measures and also effective hand washing and drying techniques so your staff are well-informed of correct procedures.

Social Distancing

Physical distancing is an important component to creating a safe environment for staff and customers. Floor plans should be redesigned to ensure there is at least 1.5 metres between seated tables. Patron movement surrounding the entry and exit from the restaurant should be considered, and if practicable have a separate entrance for each. Guests should be seated as soon as possible to avoid congregation in waiting areas or bar areas. Remind third party delivery drivers and suppliers that social distancing measures are in place and congregating around the entrances is discouraged.

Technology

Make technology your friend! Introduce contactless payment systems, automated ordering systems, or mobile ordering apps to help you conduct business with the reduced need for close contact. As restaurants start to open, make sure you’re constantly communicating with your customers through social media, website updates and simple texts advising them of opening times, menu items and reservation options.

With restaurants opening up, Alsco is here to help! With our managed uniform rental service, you can rent your hospitality staff aprons and uniforms, ensuring your employee’s always have access to hygienic and sanitary uniforms while reducing the risk of cross-contamination. Check out our range of hospitality uniforms here.

What to look for when purchasing Face Masks

Man wearing Facemask

Wearing a face mask can help individuals feel protected and reassured that they are doing the best they can for their health. There are many different kinds of face masks available, all of which have a different ‘correct’ way to be worn, and different levels of protection. The recent COVID-19 pandemic has seen people get creative with creating their own masks, turning household items such as plastic water bottles into face masks, but should you wear a mask?

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends using masks only if you:

  • Have a fever, cough, or other respiratory symptoms
  • Are personally healthy but need to wear a mask if you’re caring for someone with a respiratory illness.

Masks are only effective when used in combination with frequent hand washing either with soap and water or an alcohol based hand rub.

So what is the best mask to protect your health?

The three most common face masks available are:

  • Surgical mask
  • N95 respirator
  • Homemade cloth mask

Surgical Masks 

The most common mask, Surgical Masks, are designed to be disposable and loose fitting but still covering your nose, mouth and chin. Although designs vary, most are a rectangular shaped with a metal strip to form around the bridge of your nose and elastic bands (to be locked behind your ears) or ties (to be tied behind your head).

Surgical masks need to be worn correctly for them to be effective. Instructions on how to correctly put masks on can be found here. A properly worn mask may help block transmission of large-particle microorganisms from droplets, sprays, splatters, and splashes while also reducing hand to face contact. 

N95 Respirator

These masks are more form fitting and tighter than surgical face masks. N95 masks protect you similarly to surgical masks however, N95 masks can also filter out 95% of very small particles, including virus and bacteria. Some types may include an exhalation valve, which can help breathing and the buildup of heat and humidity. 

Designed to form a tight seal, with elastic bands holding it firmly to your face, N95 respirators are the chosen mask for many health professionals. However, these masks aren’t one size fits all. In order for the mask to be effective, it must be ‘fit tested’ to make sure a proper seal is formed. It is harder to achieve a tight seal in some individuals, especially children and those with facial hair. 

Homemade cloth masks

Although the least effective method out of all the masks, wearing it can still be useful in areas you’re unable to practise social distancing. These areas could include public places, e.g. the supermarket, pharmacies or public transport. Creating your own cloth or other material face masks, ensures surgical masks or N95 respirators are reserved for healthcare workers and medical first responders.

What not to do when wearing a mask

It is crucial when wearing masks, that proper steps be taken to ensure maximum safety. Avoid dangling the mask from one ear, hanging the mask around your neck or touching the mask once it’s secured on your face. Surgical and N95 masks are only designed for single use and reusing them can reduce its effectiveness/efficiency in blocking pathogens reaching your face. 

Although social distancing should be practised wherever possible, face masks can still be handy to have as an added protection. Did you know that you touch your face 23 times, on average, per hour? Therefore it is still crucial to maintain good hand hygiene, which includes washing your hands thoroughly, with soap for at least 20 seconds to ensure you remain in good health.

Alsco has been helping Australians prosper since 1963. We’re one of the leading providers of linen, workwear, commercial floor mats, industrial cleaners, first and training and washroom hygiene services across Australia. Get in touch with us today, and let us take the hassle out of mundane tasks so you can focus on what you do best. 

Why it is more hygienic and environmentally friendly to outsource your laundry

Washing Machine

Whether you’re in the food and beverage, medical or the industrial industry, your uniforms are guaranteed to get messy. You’re in contact with a large range of products and contaminants all day and now you’ve got to figure out how to clean them off your uniform.

Should you make your staff responsible for the cleaning their own uniform? What if they don’t wash it right and bacteria multiplies and thus increases the potential of infection to others? 

So how do you provide a more hygienic work environment? Outsource your laundry!

How is it more hygienic?

Regardless of the industry, staff are rarely taught how to properly wash their uniforms. Most individuals just throw their uniforms in with all their other laundry at home and turn on the machine. No special thought is given to disinfecting the uniform prior to the wash or even stain removal. Studies have found a significant presence of bacteria on the uniforms 48 hours after the shift ended. Thus the importance of washing your uniform correctly is crucial.

Most laundry cycles performed at home are done in a cold wash (around 30 degrees), due to cold washes being cheaper to run than hot washes. However, according to the NHS it is recommended that linen, underwear and other contaminated clothes should be washed at a minimum of 60 degrees to prevent any germs spreading. A good washing detergent is also required in addition to the hot wash, another measure which can not be guaranteed when asking staff to launder their uniforms at home.

It is also recommended that staff in industries with high contamination risks, e.g. the food and beverage industry and medical industry wash their uniforms after every shift. Research has shown that staff may not be able to do this due to the lack of uniforms available

Be more environmentally friendly

There has been more and more focus on becoming more environmentally friendly in recent years. Increase your corporate social responsibility by outsourcing your laundry to a company that uses environmentally friendly equipment and incorporates going green into their services. 

At Alsco, we’ve decreased the energy usage of our newest facilities by 63%. We’ve also researched and improved our water reuse systems where we now use up to 50% less water and 30% less chemicals.

Choosing Alsco means choosing a brighter, greener future for our environment. Not only that, it also means creating cleaner, healthier Australian workplaces.