When you serve the healthcare industry, best practices for hygiene are imperative. A reputation for clean facilities is central to success.
As the premier textile service provider and commercial laundry for healthcare organizations in the mid-Atlantic region, Commonwealth Linen Service is dedicated to meeting these rigorous standards. Key to this mission is proper management of combustible lint.
“Lint is the biggest carrier of pathogens in the laundry environment,” explains Jim Buchbinder, director of Commonwealth Linen. “So, if lint isn’t present for the pathogens to attach to, then you’ve eliminated a big problem in your plant.”
To maintain top hygiene protocols for their 42,000-square-foot facility, Commonwealth Linen has installed SonicAire industrial lint control fans.
Buchbinder reports, “Any laundry that becomes accredited by the Healthcare Laundry Accreditation Council (HLAC) needs to have a processing area environment that is free from lint. We find that SonicAire fans really help us maintain that environment, making it a lot easier for my team to keep the plant clean and free of lint.”
SonicAire Fans Assist with HLAC Accreditation
HLAC standards align with industry best practices and federal regulations. Inspectors place an emphasis on design, equipment, practices and protocols.
Accreditation is “based on the highest standards for patient safety and infection prevention.”
This designation “substantiates that a laundry’s own operational processes have been independently inspected and adhere to professional recognized infection prevention and control policies.”
Housekeeping Seal of Approval
“By securing the HLAC accreditation, we’ve positioned ourselves strategically in the industry. It gives us the housekeeping ‘seal of approval’ for laundry, because we’ve been audited and approved. Hospitals can be sure we’re using best practices. It’s good for our standing in the marketplace.”
The SonicAire industrial lint control fan system differentiates the facility from their competitors. “In poorly run laundries, you’ll notice a haze when you enter the building,” explains Buchbinder. “You look up at the rafters and see a layer of lint. In our building, we have a process in place, so we experience an absence of lint in our plant.”
Prior to implementing SonicAire’s industrial lint control fan system, the facility had to rely on inefficient manual housekeeping measures. “We would get an air hose and an extension, cover all the linen, and blow the lint down from overhead areas one portion of the plant at a time, then sweep it up. It was very time consuming.”
“Keeping these areas clean was a particular challenge in this facility, because we have an HVAC system,” continued Buchbinder. “This helps us maintain better air quality, but we don’t have exhaust fans on the clean side of our plant. Without these, all of the lint tends to settle down on the equipment and rafters. There’s no place for it to escape.”
Preventing Combustible Lint Events
With a high-ratio surface area and poor heat dissipation, lint is susceptible to spontaneous combustion and is the perfect fuel for fires. Lint that gets trapped in overhead areas accumulates and poses a further fire hazard to the facility, supporting fire spread when it ignites.
This combustible nature puts laundry facilities at particular risk for fire disasters. In fact, nearly one in ten fires at hospitals involves laundry facilities, according to NFPA reports.
“You absolutely want to avoid a situation where a fire runs through your plant and turns into a catastrophe,” says Buchbinder. To reduce the risk at Commonwealth Linen Services, facility managers are working to cover their entire plant with SonicAire fans. “After a visit to the SonicAire booth at the Clean Show, we purchased six SonicAire fans. We put in additional fans over the past two years, and we’re scheduled to finish out the plan with two more fan installations in the future.”
Buchbinder notes an added benefit to the SonicAire fans. As part of their marketing efforts, Commonwealth Linen Services offers guided tours of their facilities to current and potential clients, and the indoor air quality is remarkable. Buchbinder reports that he hears great feedback about the absence of lint in their plant. “I constantly get comments,” he says. “It’s good for our employees, good for our customers and good for business.”
The SonicAire Solution
As the global leader in lint control, SonicAire partners with laundry facility managers to mitigate risk and create cleaner environments. Applying proprietary BarrierAire™ technology, SonicAire uses thermal-current control and high-velocity airflow to prevent lint accumulation. The fans offer an engineered, robotic solution to control overhead lint and maintain safe, hygienic conditions.
Each industrial lint control fan system is customized to meet the needs of individual laundry facilities. Contact SonicAire to receive a personally engineered solution and quote.