Laundry rooms pose a significant health and fire risk if ventilation extract ductwork is not regularly maintained and cleaned. System Hygienics’ long-standing relationship with a hospital in the north of Scotland has meant clean ventilation and clean laundry for the hospital for several years.
The importance of well ventilated laundry rooms and the necessity to have tumble dryers vented to the outside of the property to remove any risks is well documented. Dirty extract ductwork can cause respiratory irritation and an accumulation of fibres from the laundry in the extract duct, combined with the heat from the machines, poses a significant fire risk. System Hygienics has been visiting the Scottish hospital on an annual basis to clean the ventilation ductwork and reduce the risks.
Colin Mason of System Hygienics said: “There are five tumble driers that extract straight from the rear of the machines via branch ducts into three exhaust plenums via a main extract duct which is about one metre in diameter. These can easily become partially or completely blocked by a build-up of lint and fluff. This situation, combined with heat from the driers, can be a potential source of combustion and should, therefore, be regularly cleaned. The Jetvent powervac system provides optimal cleaning with minimum disruption, which is essential in hospitals. The results have been outstanding.”
According to Mason, the cleaning process and bagging up of the waste took approximately one and a half days which is fairly typical for the amount of contamination revealed in the final report. Mason added: “We would recommend that these systems be cleaned at least annually but in some cases where the use is very heavy, more frequent cleaning should be considered.”
System Hygienics’ recommendations are supported by the Department of Health’s ‘Health Technical Memorandum (HTM) 03-01’ - ‘Specialised ventilation in healthcare premises’, which offers guidance on how hospitals can meet their legal requirements. In addition, the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 places a duty of care on the building owner to take such general fire precautions and states that systems designed to control fire risk - including ventilation ductwork - should be maintained in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair.