Storage and handling of work clothes – an important hygiene consideration for food production companies
In food manufacturing, work clothes have traditionally been designed to protect the product. For example, the right clothing should prevent hair or textile fibres from ending up in production and destroying the product. The healthcare sector has gone a step further and has implemented increased hygiene requirements for work clothes in order to prevent infection. This is something that should also be considered in other industries with hygiene demands, such as food production.
Requirements for storage of work clothes
An important role is how the work clothes are handled and stored in the workplace. Work clothes should be stored separately from the staff’s private clothing. Otherwise, there is the risk of bringing various types of contaminants and, in the worst case, pathogenic microorganisms, into production with the clothes.
One simple protective measure is to make sure that the work clothes are only used in the workplace, and that the clean work clothes are stored in a hygienic manner. One solution is to use closed textile cabinets, instead of open textile storage. This gives you a controlled storage, where staff can pick up work clothes at the beginning of the working day and leave them for laundry immediately after the working day is over. In this way, you can avoid spreading microorganisms to the foods that are handled.
In other words, work clothes play an important role in preventing the spread of infection. Changing to clean workwear daily is recommended for this reason.
Regardless of whether the work clothes are washed at a textile service partner or at your own premises, it is important to follow industry guidelines. This is a way to minimize the contamination of the foods being produced.
People who wash work clothes should not have any infectious disease that could be transmitted to their clothes.
Washing must be done in laundry machines with a temperature of at least at 60°C.
Detergents should be used and dispensed according to the instructions on the packaging.
Drying must be done in a dryer or in a hygienic space. A toilet, shower or bathroom is not a hygienic space.
Washed work clothes must be transported and stored so that they are not contaminated before they are used at the workplace.
If the staff wash their work clothes at home, they should receive instructions so that these recommendations can be followed.
Solutions for hygienic handling
Several of the above guidelines, if not impossible, are at least challenging to follow if work clothes are washed and handled by your own staff at the workplace or at home.
When it comes to storing work clothes, however, there are simple solutions in the form of closed cabinets that minimize the risk that work clothes are contaminated from the outside. Because the cabinets can only be opened by the staff using their access cards, better control of costs and loss of clothes is automatically provided. There is also the possibility of supplementing cabinets with built-in germicidal lights, which gives an extremely high level of hygiene when storing work clothes.