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, contaminated sharps in laundry or contaminated water aerosols.
  • Exposure to proteolytic enzymes in detergents.

Chemical Agents

Risk of:

  • Adverse health effects such as latex allergy, dermatitis and 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.
  • Wet work.

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.
  • Inadequately maintained steam boiler.

Ergonomic Hazards / Manual Handling

Risk of:

  • Musculoskeletal disorders.

Possible causes:

  • Adopting awkward or static postures while carrying out tasks.
  • Lifting, transporting or folding laundry.
  • Loading and unloading washing machines and dryers.
  • Lifting heavy detergent containers.
  • Overfilled laundry bags.
  • Lack of or unsuitable manual handling aids e.g. trolleys.
  • Failure to maintain manual handling aids.

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.
  • Unsuitable footwear.

Noise

Risk of:

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

Possible causes:

  • Prolonged exposure to noisy equipment.

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