Workwear hygiene and the duty to care

Employers, be conscious of your responsibility! New study reveals risks for employers when workwear is washed at home

Brussels, January 2014 - A report released by the European Textile Services Association reveals a worrying confusion between the concepts of cleanliness and hygiene in many people's minds. Given the number of employers that allow or even rely on employees washing their own workwear at home, this represents a threat to companies that rely on strict hygiene.

The study, conducted across four European countries by GfK, shows a number of issues of concern to employers:

  • Although many people understand that high temperatures kill bacteria, low temperature cycles (average of 48°C) are often favoured when washing workwear at home;
  • Only 1 in 4 consumers is concerned that workwear can contaminate their personal laundry;
  • 58%  do not consistently wash their workwear and personal laundry separately;
  • Only 48% always sort their soiled workwear from their personal laundry;
  • A full 50% wear their work clothes while travelling to and from their place of work.

The findings are of importance for companies that require strict hygiene levels, such as the healthcare sector, in food preparation or in the pharmaceutical industry.

By allowing employees to wash their workwear at home, employers lose control of their responsibility for the health and safety of their employees and customers.

Industrial laundering, on the other hand, prioritises hygiene - employers that have a rental contract for their employees' workwear are safe in the knowledge that the professional textile service company continuously assesses all the parameters that are required for a hygienic result.

Read the full results of the GfK survey on 'Consumer behaviour while washing workwear at home'.

Read the ETSA press release: 

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Read the ETSA client communication:

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