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Risk Analysis and Biocontamination Control System - EN 14065
As EN 14065 (Textiles - Reprocessed Textiles in Laundries - Biocontamination Control System) is a European standard, each European country reserves the right to implement a hygiene management system. However, discrepancies in knowledge about hygiene and microbiology lead to problems when transposing or implementing the standard. Therefore the wfk-Research Institute for Cleaning Technology speaks up to facilitate the conversion of EN 14065 for textile service companies. Together with intex e.V. (Industrieverband Textil-Service e.V.), the German national association for textile services, wfk has developed the intex-RABC-Certificate.
For many years the reprocessing of textiles in textile service companies has been subject to specific criteria such as stainless textile, visible cleanliness, good smell and a respectable finish. This sensory cleanliness can be achieved through washing and reprocessing with physical and chemical treatments (e.g. mechanics, temperature, addition of detergents and auxiliaries in compliance with a corresponding time and particular process-parameters.)
Additionally to the above-mentioned criteria of quality, customers of textile service companies coming from hygienically demanding areas such as healthcare, food industry or catering, increasingly call for guarantee and documented defined microbiological quality of the reprocessed textiles.
The small and medium-sized enterprises are faced with tough competition from large international groups which offer disposables with ecologically disadvantages.
The requirements regarding hygienic quality of reprocessed textile have increased over the last years, which makes the introduction of a hygiene management system in textile service companies all the more important.
The soiled textiles delivered to the laundries are contaminated with a multitude of micro organisms. The aim of reprocessing is for example to decontaminate the textiles in a disinfecting process (= to reduce micro organisms in a way that there is no more risk of infection) and protect it against recontamination (re-soiling with micro organisms) until they go back to the customers. Good laundering practices is a prerequisite for achieving a defined microbiological quality.
Dealing with hazards and getting a good overview of existing risks before and after the washing-process should be common practice for all textile-service companies. After decontamination the textiles can be microbiologically recontaminated. The detection of a recontamination is indispensable in order to eliminate any possibility of cross-contamination (transmission of micro organisms).
In order to locate a possible recontamination of the textile, several steps can be taken, such as investments, design of operational sites, construction, training courses and handling of equipment. This is a factor of competition in the respective corresponding market segment. An effective assessment of the reprocessing only can occur when an appropriate microbiological examination takes place. As a result it can be necessary to modify the equipment or/and the process.
Prevention of microbiological contamination is of significant importance in all steps of the reprocessing of textiles. The so-called RABC system laid down in EN 14065 ensures that a pre-agreed level(1) of microbiological quality will be set to match the needs of the intended use.
In EN 14065 no microbiological marginal values are mentioned. The pre-agreed level is defined according to the needs of the area of application with regard to the microbiological quality of textile; for example in operating-theatres, divisions for immune-insufficiency, food business or pharmaceuticals.