Laundry

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Biological Agents

Risk of:

  • Infection e.g. Legionnaires' disease.
  • Skin, eye or respiratory sensitisation.

Possible causes:

  • Exposure to biological agents via contaminated laundry or contaminated water aerosols.
  • Exposure to proteolytic enzymes in detergents.

Chemical Agents

Risk of:

  • Latex allergy.
  • Dermatitis.
  • Respiratory problems.

Possible causes:

  • Exposure to latex consumables, soaps, detergents and solvents.
  • Breathing fumes such as chlorine hypochlorite, ammonia and sulphur dioxide.
  • Exposure to asbestos in old buildings.
  • Exposure to cytotoxic drugs and radionuclides via contaminated laundry.

Electricity

Risk of:

  • Burns.
  • Electric shock.
  • Death.
  • Fire.

Possible causes:

  • Lack of equipment maintenance.
  • Handling sockets or equipment with wet hands.
  • Ingress of water into equipment.

 

Equipment

Risk of:

  • Entrapment.
  • Explosion.
  • Crushing.
  • Physical injury.
  • Death.

Possible causes:

  • Contact with unguarded machines e.g. folding machine.
  • Defective guards or interlocks.
  • Fingers stuck in clamps or caught in corners or folds of sheets on sheet feeders or spreaders on calenders.
  • Inadequately maintained steam boiler.

 

Ergonomic Hazards / Manual Handling

Risk of:

  • Musculoskeletal disorders.

Possible causes:

  • Lifting, transporting or folding laundry.
  • Loading and unloading washing machines and dryers.
  • Sorting soiled laundry.
  • Receiving and weighing laundry.
  • Overfilled bags.

Fire

Risk of:

  • Burns.
  • Smoke inhalation.
  • Death.

Possible causes:

  • Faulty equipment e.g. overheating.
  • Overloaded sockets.
  • Blocked fire exits.

 

Hot Surfaces / Heat

Risk of:

  • Heat stress.
  • Burns.

Possible causes:

  • Excessive humidity.
  • Lack of job rotation, breaks or water consumption.
  • Inadequately insulated steam and hot water pipes.

 

Sharps

Risk of:

  • Cuts or puncture wounds.
  • Infection.

Possible causes:

  • Exposure to needles, knives or blades folded in soiled laundry.

 

Slips, Trips and Falls

Risk of:

  • Minor injuries such as cuts to major injuries such as broken bones, concussion and even death.

Possible causes:

  • Wet floors.
  • Poor housekeeping.
  • Trailing cables.

 

Noise

Risk of:

  • Hearing damage or loss.
  • Physiological effects.
  • Work related stress.
  • Increased risk of accidents.

Possible causes:

  • Prolonged exposure to noisy equipment.

 

Further Information

For further information on related controls click here.

Note: This is not an exhaustive list of hazards and risks.