TSA Spring Conference: Knowledge Networks update

10 June 2022

At the recent Textile Services Association (TSA) Spring Conference, Shyju Skariah, director of programmes and projects for the Association, spoke about key focus areas he oversees. “Data is important,” he stressed: “The first step to treasuring something is to measure it. What we need across these project categories is data. Led by data, we can address things that are important to you.”

“This is a dynamic area and busier than the beginning of the year,” said Skariah as he outlined the current TSA projects and related workstream. The five key areas for the TSA’ projects portfolio are represented by Steering Groups. These groups achieve the desired results by initiating specific projects to address a need. However, there are also these stand-alone projects that may not fit into any of the key areas per se. They include:

¦  Value of linen – how can we make the most of its life cycle. How can we fill the gaps?

¦  Care homes – how are they managing laundry? “It is a great marketplace possibly bigger than NHS.

Highlighted projects

“None of the work we do is possible without the more than 100 members contributing and making a difference to this workstream,” said Skariah. “Now, we have been going on about this for a long time and we will have some amazing results we can use now and in the future and it is the laundries recycling scheme.

“This has received the most engagement across our market and outside with hotels. Our aim is to develop and maintain a scheme that is inclusive while getting high-quality results. Our key criteria for our recycling scheme is to enable fibre to fibre technologies, not scrapping so a sheet becomes a sheet or another textile product which can be further recycled….” At this moment we are developing an accreditation standard and subsequently offer audits to ensure that the scheme is functioning as it is designed to. We have developed a scheme that can enable our industry to achieve just that.

“Anyone involved with laundering wouldn’t be strangers to the importance to British and International standards as most products and services are driven by standards.”

Technical Standards Steering Group

“This is a resource-intensive and expert area but we do need to be on top of keeping all the standards relevant that directly or indirectly impact laundry operations. With all of the work we do, whether it is engineering, standards, health and safety or sustainability, people are at the centre of it. The ultimate aim of TSA’s knowledge networks is to mange and steward the laundry industry’s knowledge assets. How do we disseminate these knowledge assets to the next generation of launderers? Training is then central to this aim. Working with our members’ internal training objectives, we put together our annual training portfolio to fill those gaps at an industrial level. We have had amazing feedback that we are delivering it well. We are now adding newer training and need to work together to overcome challenges. PPE training is a complicated process and we need input on that to develop for the future,” reported Skariah.

Health and safety

Gary Youngson of Elis spoke about the importance of the TSA’s work on Health and Safety, saying: “We all need a safer and better place to work. We are making the best progress. Initially people were reluctant to share experiences. We heard from Charlie Betteridge (as he opened the conference) that everybody is in same boat, and we have similar machines and processes. We must learn lessons from one another to make a big difference in the workplace. Now we have an honest bunch of peoples sharing knowledge which means we can help avoid accidents and illnesses in the industry.

“This work should not be underestimated. We have worked hard on templates, recording accidents comparable to other industries comparing now with other businesses in our industry instead of manufacturing, for example.”

Skariah explained: “In 2021 incidents were led by slips, trips and falls followed closely by manual handling injuries – life changing situations for people in factories. We use this data and target specialists such as Christian Harrison so you can take away this knowledge and introduce it into your businesses. It helps us tailor specific publications, creating them and putting them on the TSA website to enable members to make workplaces safer. We have designed that material and it is there for you to use.

“At the last meeting we had a representative from HSE. It is important that we continue to do this and have a proactive approach to networking with HSE and to share our knowledge of the laundry industry and how it works. They will inspect then work with us and we can have sensible answers to our problems.”

The subject of delivery drivers’ safety was raised and the question was posed whether TSA could work with healthcare and hospitality on this. “Absolutely,” said Skariah. “We deliver into thousands of premises every day that we have no control over. We need to engage with other industries to ensure safe delivery for drivers; for example, no steep ramps, or spiral staircases to negotiate.”

More reports follow….


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