The Coronavirus pandemic has meant practices are now having to implement additional precautions to ensure that the risk of transmission of COVID-19 through team clothing is reduced. As part of CODE’s COVID-19 Standard Operating Procedure Documents, members have been able to adopt a Team Clothing Procedure (C 210) to mitigate these risks.
Dental practices should be aware that there are specific regulations that govern the laundering of clinical clothing and that they must take steps to ensure that their equipment conforms to these specific regulations.
CODE is aware that many practices have purchased washing machines to lauder team uniforms on site and want to provide some useful information that may help members to decide whether to launder clinical workwear in the practice.
The following article is designed to guide practices on the things they should be considering when installing a washing machine and undertaking laundering of clinical workwear.
Practices should be aware that:
- The installation of equipment, such as a washing machine, to launder clinical workwear must be installed in a manner which is compliant with the Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations 1999 (in England and Wales), the Water Supply (Water Fittings) (Scotland) Byelaws 2014 or the Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations 2009 (Northern Ireland)
- Practices must have “backflow” protection that meets the regulations, which means either having appropriate equipment, or other suitable plumbing measures
- Practices must receive consent from their water supplier in advance of installation
- Practices who have installed equipment without informing their water supplier should cease immediately, call their water supplier and investigate the associated costs
- Practices must also conduct their laundering in line with the Health Technical Memorandum 01-04: Decontamination of linen for health and social care (HTM 01-04)
In a nutshell there are requirements regarding specification and installation of machines that are outlined in the and requirements regarding processes and quality assurance in HTM 01-04. This article will not cover the policy, procedural and risk assessment requirements that would need to be in place in order for a practice to meet HTM 01-04.
Since the regulations and guidance only apply to workplaces CODE’s advice to members at this time is that practices should avoid laundering clinical clothing on site due to the additional costs and compliance activities needed.
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