Commercial laundry safety improvement outpaces national industrial averages

National survey results show across-the-board reductions in injury and illness at commercial laundries, surpassing safety improvement rates in the overall private manufacturing industry

TRSA, the leading global textile services trade association, today released results of its annual national safety survey, showing dramatic, across-the-board reductions in injuries and illness at commercial laundries. According to the Textile Services Industry Safety Report, which bases its questions on U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) standards, safety improvement at commercial laundries exceeds the overall private manufacturing industry.

The report found the Total Recordable Incident Rate (TRIR) for TRSA members dropped by 27.3 percent between 2010 and 2014. Similarly, TRSA members’ Days Away, Restricted and or Transfer Rate (DART) dropped by 25.6 percent during that same period.

According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), over the same time period, the private manufacturing industry reduced its TRIR and DART rates by 9 percent and 8.3 percent respectively. Private manufacturing operations are similar to those found in textile processing facilities and, therefore, shares many of the textile services industry’s same safety issues and compliance mandates.

“The statistics in the latest TRSA safety report shows tremendous improvement in key indicators of worker health and safety in commercial laundries,” said Joseph Ricci, CEO of TRSA. “Along with continuing advances in hygienic cleaning processes, these safety numbers highlight our industry’s dedication to improving the health and safety of its workers and the public.”

TRSA’s survey is modeled after the OSHA “Summary of Work Related Injuries and Illnesses” Form—more commonly known as the OSHA Form 300A. From February 1 through April 30, Federal OSHA regulations require every textile services facility to publicly display a completed OSHA Form 300A for the facility from the previous year in the facility where notices to employees are commonly posted.

The survey was completed by 713 TRSA members, with all completed member surveys submitted directly to Mackay Research Group—an independent, third-party organization that specializes in providing comprehensive information on employee, operating and financial performance for trade associations.

For the past decade, SafeTRSA has provided industry-specific tools and resources to help textile service providers improve their safety performance by documenting best practices and compliance. The TRSA Safety Committee continually updates and revises the material to identify and mitigate risks in their laundry facilities and on routes. The Safety Report is available at www.SafeTRSA.org

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Will it all come out in the wash?

I’m on my way back from The Clean Show, where there was tremendous interest in my TRSA-sponsored educational session, “Crisis Communications: A Practical Guide to Protecting Your Reputation.” Whether they were commercial laundry operators or others in the textile industry, attendees recognized the importance of communicating effectively in a crisis.

A massive, cylindrical washing machine

Space ship or tunnel washer? You decide.

Among the highlights of my presentation were:

  • Having a crisis response plan that includes communications protocols for media, customers and other key audiences.
  • Identifying a spokesperson who can represent the company well.
  • Dos and don’ts of media interviews, focusing on honest, open communications.
  • Preparing talking points that drive all answers in media interviews.
  • Incorporating social media in a crisis communications plan
  • The role of leadership in navigating a crisis effectively.

Following the presentation, TRSA hosted a press conference to unveil results of a new survey that reported business and consumer perspectives on service professionals wearing uniforms. The conference also unveiled the new TRSA animated video we developed with videographer Tom Donnelly.

Opening day on the trade show floor was eye opening with the size of the equipment and advanced technology used by the commercial laundry industry TRSA represents. For me, it was a valuable window into an important, far-reaching industry.

A large green banner depicting a women clutching plastic saying "sometimes I feel like I'm drowning in plastic."

The laundry industry has a bright green streak.