The National : THE NATIONAL Issue 1 2009
IRONER SAFETY Anthony Kingsley, Filterfab Pty Ltd Anthony Kingsley certainly woke the crowd up! This (normally) mild mannered man calmly walked on stage then started jumping up and down yelling “STOP! STOP! STOP!” This uncharacteristic behaviour was soon explained when he related how two weeks previously he had been speaking with a lady working at an ironer and had asked if she knew what to do if she – or someone else – got caught up in the ironer. Her answer was not encouraging. A chat with her Supervisor was also revealing. “Yes, they get told all that on the first day, but I think they are more interested in what they get paid, and where the lunchroom is located.” Several nodding heads in the audience said this is a common perception. Anthony said it was distressing to the industry that Australia suffered a fatality on an ironer some 18 months earlier. What was more distressing was that four months ago, we nearly had the second. A lady wearing a burqa type of garment caught up in the feeding end of an ironer had a very narrow escape. And this at a laundry which has ‘had all the talks’ and thought everyone was on the same page. “The rollers were not guarded. The three pieces- feeder, ironer and folder – were not interlocked. That is, pressing an emergency stop button on one piece did not affect another piece. Yet this is an essential safety feature of modern systems. Anyone hearing a cry for help should be able to hit the STOP button on the ironer line and have an immediate affect. “In South Australia, a lady unjamming the front of an ironer had her arm pulled in when she was successful and the jammed mechanism jerked back into life. She lost her arm completely, and emergency medical officers in attendance said another 3 minutes and she would have been dead from loss of blood. “In NSW, as an owner of a laundry, you could be jailed for enabling an accident of this magnitude.” he added. “Most of you are aware, by now, that after the ironer fatality, I sat down with Kerry King of TAFE SA and through the Federal Government’s Electronic Learning funding mechanism, we were able to create the CD on ironer safety, and supporting posters. TAFE SA gave generously of Kerry King’s time . “So why was I able to see, just three weeks ago, an ironer with large, exposed cogs, and no guarding? This laundry also employs intellectually disabled and physically handicapped people. “Whether you run a commercial laundry, hospital laundry, sheltered workshop, aged care facility, prison or hotel laundry or a large drycleaning and laundry plant, you have an ironer in use. “What lessons are we not learning about ensuring our plants are mechanically safe, and that our employees are soundly trained? THE AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL DRYCLEANER & LAUNDERER, JANUARY/FEBRUARY/MARCH 2009 45 Anthony Kingsley, Filterfab Pty Ltd Training in Australia is readily available – you just have to access it! Here is Kerry King of TAFE SA (and a former launderer and Filterfab Overseas Study Award winner), Patrick Quinliven of RMIT VIC, and Kerryn Rizza, formerly of RMIT and now LDCT NSW. If you can’t find them, call me, I’ll put you in touch.
THE NATIONAL Issue 2 2009
THE NATIONAL Issue 3 2008