Are you confident with the level of health and safety checks being carried out in your establishment? If not, then we can help. Why not start by downloading and completing this easy guide to ascertain whether you are currently doing enough to create a safe working environment for you and your staff.
Any laundry or dry cleaners should be regularly reviewing and monitoring the following areas;
• Potential areas for slips, trips and falls
• Steam Boilers and other pressure vessels
• Awkward or repetitive actions
• Electrical hazards
• Wet cooling towers
• Manual Handling
• Asbestos in the building
• Operating machinery
• Cleaning solvents
• Spotting reagents
• Operating procedures
How can I minimise the risks?
Carry out regular risk assessments and keep a record of your findings (see template risk assessment).
• Have an action plan that you can review and work towards making improvements that are manageable
Speak to your staff to find out about any issues and potential dangers they have identified
• Consult with an independent safety advisor for specialist guidance and support.
For guidance on how to conduct your own risk assessment, view the links on this page and have a go at completing an assessment yourself. Also have a read of these case studies to understand what could happen if systems and procedures are not identified.
Who could be affected?
Anyone who visits your premises such as staff, public, visitors, maintenance workers, contract workers could be injured. In addition, some groups have special requirements that must be taken in to consideration in your working environment, e.g. new and young workers, new or expectant mothers and people with disabilities. If good health and safety practices are implemented and followed then the risk of an injury occurring is reduced.
The main causes of injury (that account for nearly 90% of all injuries) are:
- Manual handling/musculoskeletal injuries (more than a third of all injuries)
- Slips and trips (nearly a quarter of all injuries)
- Hit by moving or falling objects
- Contact with moving machinery
The main causes of ill health are:
- Musculoskeletal injury from manual handling boxes, sacks, wheeled trolleys, etc
- Work-related upper limb disorders (WRULDs), e.g. from repetitive sorting/packing work
- Noise induced hearing loss from noisy machines, e.g. cleaning plant, packaging machinery
- Respiratory irritation from breathing fumes such as chlorine, hypochlorite, ammonia and sulphur dioxide
- Occupational dermatitis from chemical cleaners
How do you know if you have a problem?
Injury and health problems appear in different ways, including:
- cases of injury to backs and limbs
- aches and pains
- poor product quality
- high material waste
- low output
- frequent worker complaints and rest stops
- do-it-yourself improvements to work stations and tools (e.g. seat padding)
- workers wearing bandages, splints, rub-ons, copper bracelets or magnets.
A problem can cost money from sickness absence, high staff turnover, retraining, loss of production, etc. and compensation cases are also on the increase.
How can you manage the risks?
- Identify which tasks present a serious risk of acute injury (e.g. from lifting) or chronic injury (e.g. from repetitive upper body work)
- Assess these tasks in detail to decide what factors lead to the risk
- Introduce a mechanism where possible, e.g. trolleys, powered trucks, conveyors
- Introduce measures to prevent injury, e.g. reduce loads by restricting bag size, improve ergonomic design of work stations and work areas, job rotation, training, medical surveillance and job transfer
- Consult fully with trade union safety representatives or other employee representatives and workers to ensure effective workable solutions to problems.
Who do I contact if I need advice and support?
Please call us on 0845 073 7840 if you require any support with your health and safety. We are equally as happy to assist new businesses as we are to reviewing the existing arrangements of an established business.
This page contains public sector information published by the Health and Safety Executive and is licensed under the Open Government Licence v1.0.