Within any organization, staff is the most important asset. You might have the most high-tech UniMac laundry equipment on the market, but as great as we are, we aren’t self-loading and unloading …yet. Your laundry team is what makes the daily throughput number possible. So, protecting these laundry athletes is imperative, especially as we see tight labor markets in most areas.
With slips and falls and back injury risks high in a busy on-premises laundry, prevention is key. Below are tips to help you keep your employees free from injury.
1. Use clear signage. Wet floor and out of order signs should be easily accessible and placed as soon as possible after a spill or leak occurs. Signs are a great first step in making staff and customers aware of potential slipping hazards.
2. Clean up spills quickly. When a spill occurs, cleaning it up should be a top priority to make sure no one accidentally falls. This may be a no brainer, but when employees are busy or rushed, it’s easy to forget, get distracted, or assume someone else will take care of it.
3. Assign responsibilities. While safety should be everyone’s responsibility, that’s not always the case. Make sure it’s clear (and documented) who is responsible for handling leaks, spills, and other tripping hazards, and/or who to call if an emergency occurs. All safety processes should be documented and employees should be trained how to follow them appropriately.
4. Never work alone. Injuries often happen when someone is left by themselves. Working as a team assures there’s someone to offer assistance if an incident occurs or someone needs help. Since no one is ever left to their own devices, it also helps keep the team accountable when it comes to following safety and cleanliness procedures.
5. Protect yourself when moving equipment. Laundry equipment is heavy. Make sure to utilize proper tools, such as dollies, lifting straps, and forklifts, to protect your back from injury. If you are lifting heavy boxes, equipment, or pushing carts, be sure to lift with your legs, not your back.
6. Keep soaps and chemicals stored away when not in use. This will help prevent employees from accidentally knocking soaps and chemicals off the counter and around the laundry equipment, which can create a slippery floor and wastes your products. Keeping soaps and other materials stored at an easily accessible height can also reduce the need for climbing on step stools or ladders, which can increase the risk of falling.
7. Use cable protectors and cord guards to keep cords from becoming tripping hazards. As staff are carrying large loads of linens and pushing carts, the last thing you want is a cord in the way to trip them up. Make sure all cords are secured and safely out of walkways.
8. Improve lighting. It is much easier to see potential tripping hazards or other dangers in a well-lit space. Add additional lights, increase natural lighting with windows, and replace burned out bulbs as needed.
Stay tuned for part two of this blog in the coming weeks.