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Dharamsey, Director, ADD Laundry Concepts Private Limited. 

The laundry at a pharmaceutical company processes various items but the barrier coveralls, caps, gloves and foot covers utilised in the manufacturing area is where special care must be taken to avoid any cross contamination and to protect people, writes Dharamsey, Director, ADD Laundry Concepts Private Limited. 

What are the unique laundry requirements of the pharma industry?

To ensure that the uniforms as listed are sterile when taken for use, the following care must be taken:

  • Ensure that the OPL area confirms to clean room standards
  • Ensure that there is a physical barrier between soil and clean areas to avoid overlap of workflow
  • Ensure that the air being drawn out from the laundry and drawn in to the laundry passes through HEPA filters to trap any particulate matter
  • Strict streamlined process and guidelines with minimal human intervention to prevent chances of contamination

What makes them more challenging to meet than other manufacturing sectors?

  • Stringent adherence to SOPs to avoid risk of contamination
  • Monitoring of processes and inspection of various areas
  • Need to maintain an audit trail of processes

What type of equipment and laundry chemicals need to be used specifically for the uniforms of this industry?

  • Barrier washers and dryers which conform to clean room standards are the primary equipment to invest in.
  • Good built detergents along with bacteriostats provide adequate cleaning as well as disinfection

How should a pharma laundry be maintained?

  • Daily inspection of premises, equipment and storage areas is essential to pre-empt any failures
  • Daily cleaning and disinfection of premises
  • Regular inspection and maintenance of laundry equipment and HVAC systems, filters and material handling systems

From receiving used uniforms to despatching laundered uniforms back to manufacturing units, what are the different ways in which they are kept infection-free?

  • Collection of soiled linen must be in a wheeled container so that human intervention can be reduced and the same can be wheeled directly to the laundry soil area. The containers, trolleys must be cleaned and disinfected daily.
  • Soiled linen must be stored in a demarcated soiled laundry area only while they are queued for process.
  • People sorting and loading soiled linen into barrier washers must wear protective gear to avoid any physical contact or inhaling any infectious particulate matter
  • There should be no opening in the physical barrier wall from the soil area to the clean area
  • People, equipment, tools in soil area must not be allowed access to the other areas to minimise the risk of contamination
  • Every person exiting the soil area must follow disinfection protocol before leaving the area.

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