Why the heat of the wash matters when working in the Medical & Pharmaceutical industry

Pharmacists working in Lab

Washing laundry the correct way is crucial when working in the medical and pharmaceutical industry. But what is the correct way? Is it colour sorting? Is it washing contaminated items separately to uncontaminated clothing? 

It is commonly known that microorganisms can survive on inanimate objects and surfaces for extended periods of time. These surfaces and objects then play host to growing bacteria before an unbeknownst individual walks past and comes into contact with the bacteria themselves.

A study conducted by the Infectious Disease Research Group by De Montfort University, studied contamination levels on nurses uniforms when they took it home to launder themselves. Contaminated uniforms that were washed with sterile items at 40 degrees were found to have a small amount of Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus bacteria on them and also contaminated the other sterile items in the wash. 

Out of the four hospitals investigated, there were discrepancies between the organisation’s recommendations on temperature of the wash cycle, large variations between the instructions regarding use of detergents, the process of drying the uniforms and washing contaminated uniforms with other items. 

It was found that 26% of staff also wore their uniforms for an average of two shifts before washing it, increasing possible contamination between shifts. It is recommended that uniforms are washed after every shift. The study concluded that trusting employees to wash uniforms correctly was impossible to monitor, as staff may not always follow correct procedures when laundering. 

A few key factors for washing uniforms at home include, washing uniforms immediately after each shift for a minimum of 10 minutes at 60 degrees. Uniforms should also be stored separately from other clothing, regardless if the uniform is cleaned. A laundry detergent should also always be used.

Don’t want to rely on your staff for the health & safety of your work environment? Outsource your laundry!

At Alsco, we have a managed uniform rental service, which is a cost effective solution to purchasing uniforms and relying on your staff for a clean work environment. We will provide you with an agreed amount of garments, and will come and collect the soiled, used laundry while providing you with a freshly laundered set of garments. 

All of our garments are laundered with strict adherence to heat of wash, ensuring that your staff are not hosts to unknown bacteria between shifts. Get in touch with us today to organise your staff’s uniforms needs!

Promoting Healthy Workplaces

With the recent COVID-19 pandemic sweeping across the globe, the importance of a healthy and clean workplace has become the highest priority. Providing that security and safety, and comfort of mind, for your staff and your visitors has never been more critical. Ensuring the good health of your staff can reduce absentee rates and increase staff engagement leading to greater overall productivity and staff retention.

There are many ways that you can ensure that your workplace provides facilities services, floor solutions, and sanitary solutions, which organisations such as Alsco are ideally positioned to help you with. Beyond that, studies have found that implementing comprehensive and structured health programs actually led to increased savings due to higher productivity levels and reduced staff turnover.

Health promotion is the process of enabling individuals to increase control over and improve their health. Three ways this can be achieved is through:

  • Health Education: educating the individual on nutrition, hygiene and other health topics
  • Health Prevention: regular health checks and immunisations
  • Health Protection: providing a healthy environment (e.g. smoke free)

So as an employer, what can you do to promote a healthier workplace?

As seen in recent months, education around the importance of good personal and hand hygiene should be prioritised. Having good hygiene – for instance, regular supplies of hand sanitiser and anti-bacterial wipes available for staff – is one of the best ways employees can protect themselves and their colleagues from getting illnesses, and has been highlighted as key to the fight against the spread of diseases such as COVID-19. Simple education surrounding hand hygiene, refraining from hand shakes, using tissues when you sneeze, and binning litter, used masks or tissues immediately after use can make a difference.

Other ways to promote a healthier workplace include:

  • Physical Activities
    • Encourage walking meetings, subsidising gym memberships and provide standing desks
  • Health Screenings
    • Provide regular health checkups for employees, provide wearable technology to monitor health indicators
  • Stress Management
    • Provide free or subsidised stress management or counselling sessions
    • Mental health first aid and education
    • Provide rest areas and sleep pods
  • Work Life Balance
    • Provide flexible working hours
  • Workplace Infrastructure
    • Provide stairs, showers and bike racks to promote physical activity
    • On site gyms or fitness programs
  • Chronic Disease Management
    • Insulin testing on site
    • Subsidised GP or specialist checkups
  • Nutrition
    • Provide healthier cafeteria options
    • Eliminate or reduce foods with high fat, sugar and salt content
    • Provision of free fruit or other healthier options

Investing in the short and long term health of your employees can provide a great return on investment for your organisation and your employees.

At Alsco, we value the health of your employees. We provide staff education on first aid, first aid kits, uniforms to protect the health of your employees and washroom services to improve hygiene around the office.

We have also developed a new range of Back to Work products outside of our traditional portfolio that we are delighted to make available to you for direct sale, to help you keep operating in the most hygienic way possible.

Get in touch with us today to improve the health and wellbeing of your staff.