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Module 1, Hygiene

Hygiene (Basics for the quality-management and hygiene-management respectively for the conversion of EN 14065)

In this part module the possibility of learning the basics of hygiene is given. Besides this it comprises hygiene-relevant special knowledge for the laundry area and textileservice enterprises respectively, to guarantee an appropriate conversion of EN 14065 (RABC-System) with regard to hygiene. While you find a detailed survey dealing with hygiene in the PowerPoint presentation, in this present chapter important details are explained to guarantee a better performance and practice-compatible respectively of hygiene aspects.

Definition hygiene:
Hygiene is defined as the entirety of all procedures and all behaviours with the aim to avoid diseases and to serve the environment and health-care.

Hygiene means prophylaxis, not therapy!

1. Hygienic hand disinfection

Nowadays it is beyond dispute that hands are the main transmitter for infections. With the help of molecular-biological methods it could be shown that the same germ is able to be transmitted via at least five hand contacts.

This is why hand disinfection is of central importance. The hygienic hand disinfection presents one of the most efficient procedures to avoid any spreading of germs by personnel. The influence of hygienic hand disinfection is to be explained by interruption of germ transmission via the hands of staff. A reduction of the transient flora of skin (contact flora or flora which is on the hands temporarily) takes place and for this reason the most frequent vehicle (transmitter) of infections is eliminated.

The correct procedure of hand disinfection is substantial because this is the only way to kill micro-organisms reliably. The common practice is to rub an alcoholic hand disinfectant into the hand with a residence time of 30 seconds.

The importance of the hygienic hand disinfection has to be seen when the need arises: A hygienic hand disinfection is necessary after the contact with blood, secretion or excretion as well as after contacting contaminated subjects as for example dirty laundry or –surfaces and should be carried out before the germs can be transmitted to not-contaminated subjects and/or persons. To keep the disinfected hands in a reduced contaminated state, disinfection of surfaces in the near of laundry has to be performed as well.

For the practical experience of a textile-service enterprise this means, the hand disinfection has to be carried out at the beginning of work and before each re-start of work. Furthermore before and after the break (e.g. canteen), after going to toilet, after wiping the nose and certainly at personal demand. (Bigger wounds should be bandaged water-proof).

Seven behaviour barriers could be identified, that can explain why people do not carry out hand disinfection: the missing feeling of doing something wrong, missing behaviour standards, missing behaviour controls, missing success controls, missing examples, missing product-convenience (consumer friendliness) and missing problem consciousness.

2. Disinfection

Killing/Inactivating of so many micro-organisms, that there is no more risk of transmitting an infection.
Purpose: Interruption of chain of infection, protection for personnel and customer.

The disinfection is split up into four effective ranges (A-D)

  • range A:
    vegetative cells of bacteria, mycobacteria, fungi spores of pathogenic fungi are eliminated as well

  • range B:
    killing of viruses (contains range A)

  • range C:
    killing of spores of anthrax (contains range A and B)

  • range D:
    largest range, practically identical with the sterilisation procedure. killing of heat-resistant spores of germs, especially spores of clostridia (contains range A, B and C)

In the area of textile commercial services range AB in general is sufficient, because besides germs, viruses (AIDS-Hepatitis-, SARS-activator) are being inactivated. For the laundry-disinfection of washable textiles furthermore the possibility of exclusively thermal- disinfection is given, whereas a washing-temperature of 85°C (15 min.) resp. 90°C (10 min.) has to be kept. In comparison: A corresponding disinfecting range can be achieved by chemo-thermal washing procedures at temperatures from 40°C on together with a listed product (by Robert-Koch-Institute or Deutsche Gesellschaft für Hygiene und Mikrobiologie). Usually the disinfecting washing procedures are adjusted with the help of the detergent supplier.

  • Disinfectants in general:
  • Formaldehyde, Glutardialdehyde – works in spite of blood soiling.
  • Substances with active chlorine (as long as the materials to be disinfected sustain it and the application is warrantable resp. permitted), such as Chloramin T
  • Substances with active chlorine resp. per-acid (not capable for disinfection of materials distinctly contaminated with blood or porous materials (for example native wood)

The success of the disinfection depends on various factors:

  • Initial bacterial count: The less germs existing the faster the disinfectionsuccess is achieved
  • Temperature: At physical procedures (see below) faster and safer success at higher temperatures. (Attention: At chemical disinfection-procedures substances can migrate to gas phase and eventually unfold toxic effects).
  • Time of residence: The longer it is, the safer is the success.
  • Capability of penetration: Micro-organisms might be protected by dirt or crystals in which they exist. Disinfectants work better (resp. only) when they are able to penetrate easily and therefore reach the virus. This is valid for example for water and aldehyde.
  • Protein- and soap-mistakes: Disinfectants can be inactivated by reaction with protein and soaps. Therefore, never mix disinfectants with soaps (detergents), unless specifically authorised (in written) by the producers.

Chemical disinfectants are used when physical procedures cannot be applied. This is valid especially for heat-sensitive materials, big and angular objects and persons: hands, skin, mucous membrane, instruments, appliances, laundry, surfaces, air in rooms, water etc.

The surface-disinfection in a textile service enterprise (working surfaces as tables, shelves, other laundry storage-spaces, transport conveyors for laundry, if applicable floor, laundry containers and so on) cannot be generalized. Experience shows significant differences of germ-occurrence, independent of carrying out disinfection. Various factors are important when a plant is being contaminated: the ventilation, the relative humidity, even seasons seem to influence the number of micro-organisms existing in the plant. In order to receive a desired germ-reduction individual hygieneplans have to be developed. While the implementation of hygiene-plans disinfection intervals are defined, which are subsequently checked (generally quarterly) by hygiene monitoring. By all means a monthly surface-disinfection might be effective for special plants whereas another one has to carry out the procedures daily.

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