With the emergence of COVID-19, dental practices have had to reevaluate how they handle their uniforms and reusable Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). While some dental practices outsource their laundering needs to healthcare laundry services, many more opt to install washing machines to launder their healthcare workwear in-house. This move is beneficial for both cost savings and convenience. However, it comes with a set of regulations that must be adhered to for dental practices to remain compliant with UK law.
To meet the regulations regarding laundering clinical workwear, dental practices must adhere to essential quality requirements and equipment standards, such as a hazard and risk assessment and team training. In addition, the CQC (Care Quality Commission) will need reassurance that the Health & Social Care Act 2008 Regulation 12 – safe care and treatment and Regulation 15 – premises and equipment are being met.
What factors should you consider for your dental practice?
When it comes to purchasing a washing machine suitable for use in a dental practice setting, several factors must be considered. Practices should source models adhering to technical standards to show an equal level to BS EN 14065. This is the internationally recognised standard for certifying biocontamination control systems for the laundry processing of textiles.
BS EN 14065 standards include temperature measurement, water flow and pressure measurement and the testing of washers used in laundry. (This includes engineer installation and scheduling operational tests.) and obtaining documented evidence that the washer meets standards.
Do you know your water usage?
Water usage should also be considered when selecting a washing machine for environmental as well as cost reasons and practices should opt for models with an efficient water system.
Before any plumbing work for a washing machine in a dental practice is carried out, the local water supplier must be notified, and consent granted. This is a legal requirement. More importantly, it provides an important safety check. A water fittings inspection can identify ways to reduce water usage. It can also identify water quality risks.
Proper installation is essential
Another important step when installing a washing machine is proper installation; any wiring or plumbing should be done by licensed professionals who ensure all safety protocols and building regulations are followed during installation. The washing machines used will need backflow protection to fluid category 5. This is higher than found in domestic washing machines. If a washing machine does not have backflow protection complying with regulations it will need to be supplied from an independent break cistern by a Type AA or AB air gap.
Maintenance is key to longevity
To ensure the appliance’s longevity, operators should regularly observe routine maintenance procedures such as cleaning filter traps and keep all manufacturer advisories up to date. Finally, team members who will operate the machine must receive thorough training to understand how best to use it without compromising hygiene levels or putting themselves or patients at risk.
Patient safety and successful compliance
By taking all these points into consideration when installing a washing machine within their practice premises, dental care providers can save time and money while still adhering to all necessary regulations – thus ensuring both patient safety and successful compliance!
While you’re here, why not check out our online courses for dental professionals?
The best way to take advantage of our online dental courses is to become an Apolline CPD Member. For just £39.99 per year, you get access to our full suite of dental-specific online courses.
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First, it’s only £39.99 per year.
Our courses will meet your GDC CPD requirements.
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