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Are you aware of your legal obligations to provide a safe environment for residents, visitors and workers?

The main dangers in a laundry environment are slip and fall injuries, electrocution, and fire.

When you go with ILS, you can be sure that your employees, residents and visitors are protected.

As part of our service we make sure all electrical equipment and outlets are regularly inspected and maintained, dryers and their associated exhaust ducts are installed and maintained according to specifications, and that the flooring meets the required standard to reduce the likelihood of a slip and fall injury.

Remember, if an incident we’re to occur in your laundry and it was found that the required safety standards were not being met, you may not be covered by your insurance.


Did you know that if there is a fire in your common laundry, you as an owner may be liable for any damage and repair costs?

Even though you have building insurance, if your laundry machinery is not adequately maintained, you may not be covered by your insurance.

During the year 1996 in the United States there were over 15000 fires caused by clothes dryers.

The majority of clothes dryer fires are caused by improperly installed and poorly maintained exhaust ducting.

How does inadequate exhaust ducting cause a fire?

There are two main reasons inadequate exhaust can lead to fire, the exhaust itself catches fire because it is made from combustible material due to a restriction in the exhaust, electrical components inside the dryer overheat and catch fire.

A dryer has 3 main components, a heating element, a fan blower, and a motor to power the drum.

The fan blower sucks room air into the machine, and passes that air through the heating element. That air is then blown into the drum where the wet clothes are being ‘tumbled’. The pressure of the fan blower pushing new air into the drum, also forces the old heated air out. The airflow inside the drum is dependent on the force of the fan blower pushing air in, and the resistance of the exhaust allowing the old air out.

Manufacturers do a lot of research to calibrate the optimal airflow and pressures generated by the fan blower and the exhaust. If the exhaust is too big and allows air out too easily, the heated air will not pass through the clothes efficiently, leading to the hot air being blown straight out of the machine, making drying take a lot longer.

If the exhaust is too small (or partially blocked) a number of changes in the dynamics of the machine occur:

The fan blower is pushing hot air into the drum, but the air can’t escape quickly enough.

This resistance in the exhaust slows down the flow of new air. As the airflow into the drum slows, the air is in contact with the heating elements for longer, causing the air to become hotter than the machine was designed for.

The temperature inside the drum quickly increases, causing clothes to become extremely hot to touch, yet still moist (because the old air can’t escape). If this overheating is allowed to continue, the internal components of the dryer will heat up, which may cause the insulation on the wiring to melt, which could cause a short circuit, leading to fire.

How do I know if my dryer’s exhaust isn’t working properly?

Drying takes longer than it should

The machine turns off by itself before clothes are dry (safety thermostat has been triggered)

The room where the dryers are used becomes excessively hot, with moist air causing ‘sweating’ on walls, floors or ceilings.

Make sure you have the right Exhaust Ducting

Dryer exhaust ducts are exposed to extremely high temperatures and for this reason, dryer exhausts should not be made from or contain any combustible material.PVC tubing is an example of a combustible material.

Flexible foil tubing is another material not considered suitable for dryer exhaust ducting, as the ridges prevent laminar (smooth) airflow ,increasing resistance and effectively narrowing the diameter of the tubing. The ridges of the foil tubing also cause lint to build up on the inside, posing a fire hazard. Lint is a combustible material.


How Should Exhaust Ducting Appear?

In commercial situations, manufacturers generally recommend solid tubing made from metal, which is not combustible, with as few sharp angles as possible (to prevent lint build up)

If your exhaust system contains PVC, the PVC components should be replaced with solid metal components

If your exhaust is made from flexible foil, or contains flexible foil, those components should be replaced with solid metal

How do I ensure that there is no lint building up inside the ducting?

Some lint will always escape the lint filter inside the machine and make its way into the ducting.

Provided the ducting meets manufacturers specifications in regards to length, diameter, and the material it is made from, most lint will blow through the ducts and to the outside.

Regular maintenance by a qualified professional will ensure any damage caused to the ducts is repaired and any lint build up is removed.

* As part of our design and service agreement, ILS will design, install and regularly inspect and maintain the exhaust ducting in your new laundry.

Electrical Safety

Electrical safety is an important aspect of managing the risks associated with common laundries.

Australian Standard AS 3760:2003 relates to the safety requirements of all electrical equipment in a work or public setting. The Standard refers to electrical equipment that is connected to a power supply by a flexible cord and/or connecting device.

What are the legislative requirements regarding testing of equipment?

If you are an employer, as most large residential or commercial complexes are, you have a duty of care to ensure that employees and visitors are safe from injury and risks to their health. You must, therefore, manage any safety risks surrounding electrical hazards, in accordance with the requirements of the Occupational Health and Safety Act NSW.

Electrical Testing and Tagging: Frequently Asked Questions

The act dictates that:

All electrical equipment that is used at a place of work where the safe operation of the electrical equipment could be affected by a hostile operating environment is regularly inspected, tested and maintained by a competent person to ensure it is safe for use.

According to the act, a hostile operating environment includes an operating environment that may:

Expose the item of equipment to moisture, heat, vibration, corrosive substances or dust that is likely to result in damage to the item of equipment.
Under this definition your common laundry is classed as a hostile environment.

How do I know if my washing machines and dryers are safe?

Look for a tag on the equipment or power cord. All machines must be tested regularly and tagged, with the date and identification of the person who performed the test clearly visible. Records of the tests must be kept for seven years.

If your current equipment and outlets are not tagged, contact ILS or a licensed professional to conduct an immediate inspection.

As part of our design and service agreement, ILS will regularly test and maintain all the electrical outlets and equipment in your new laundry.