Lockdown Maintenance

We know the current lockdown measures are having a huge impact on lots of businesses, particularly in hospitality and retail – whether you’ve been forced to close fully, or scale back significantly. However, closure also presents a rare opportunity to catch up on maintenance that could help you hit the ground running when things return to normal. 

Adjusting to current challenges and working out how your premises needs to be maintained during this time can feel daunting – but by taking advantage of a challenging situation and using the ‘spare’ time you now have, you can ensure your most critical facilities and equipment are ready to work at their best when lockdown is lifted. Below, we‘ve put together a quick list of the basic things you can do to look after your key equipment and core systems.

Review your fire safety plans and processes

Even at the best of times, day-to-day priorities can get in the way of properly taking stock of the way you approach fire safety. Now, with changes to the way we all work, as well as changing restrictions and possibly reductions in your staff numbers, it’s more important than ever to make sure your plans are up-to-date.

From legally required inspections of your alarms, doors and extinuishers to carrying out a full fire risk assessment, there’s plenty to check across your premises. This list of the vital things you should review while your building is closed for business is a good start, but it’s important to seek help from a fire safety expert if you need further all-round support.

Put your heating into lockdown mode

Although you may not need to keep customers and staff warm while your business is closed, leaving your heating on (and even having it managed remotely) can continue to protect your building’s pipes, furnishings and electrical devices.

While the latest lockdown has left the hospitality and retail businesses with unwanted time on their hands, it does provide the perfect opportunity to carry out basic preventative boiler maintenance and also get any essential servicing works completed without disruption.

Maintain your fridges and freezers properly

It’s important to fully clean and maintain your chillers and freezers before leaving them unused during lockdown. By following a few simple steps, you can make sure your most important kitchen appliances are ready to get back up and running when your business is able to re-open.

‘Hibernate’ your dishwashers

Preparing your commercial dishwashers by going through the right care and maintenance checklist can protect them during downtime when the time comes to use them again – the last thing you need when you can re-open is a breakdown that leaves you with a pile of dirty dishes and stops you serving your customers for even longer.

Carry out laundry housekeeping

If you have an onsite laundry for uniforms and tableware, you’ll want to ensure your washers and dryers are in full working order (and hygienic) when you need them again.

This handy laundry maintenance guide will help you tick off some important boxes and make sure everything’s done safely and that your machines are in the same condition when you switch them back on.

Double check the support that’s available

A number of schemes have been put in place by the government to support businesses, including grants up to £9,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure; the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme for smaller businesses; and the Job Retention Scheme which helps you protect your workforce.

You’ve probably looked into these before, but some schemes have been improved upon and extended, so it’s worth using this time to double-check the financial support you could be eligible for.

If you need help with maintenance or compliance during lockdown and beyond, contact our friendly team – we’ll be happy to talk through any legal obligations you need support with, or arrange site visits where possible to assist with any servicing or repairs you might need.

Get expert help

The risk of infections spread by contamination is an ever-present concern for many businesses. And for a number of hospitals – and those looking to meet laundry guidelines for care homes – one of the major tools in the battle against contamination has proven to be an ozone washer system – which uses a natural gas to kill 99.999% of infections.

What is an ozone laundry system?

An ozone laundry disinfection system uses safe O3 gas at low temperatures instead of high heat or chemicals that can damage garments and linen fabrics. Harnessing the natural power of ozone, this innovative way of washing kills bacteria, moulds, yeasts and viruses and eliminates the risk of cross-infection in laundry.

The process provides disinfection verification for audit trails and inspection documentation, with simple controls to ensure effective use. O3 itself leaves a pleasant fragrance, and leaves towels fluffier that traditional methods will.

How does ozone laundry work?

By converting ‘free’ air from around the washing machine into 90% oxygen, splitting this into ozone and injecting particles into a wash, the system removes the need for water heating and safely lifts stains out of fibres while the natural gas eliminates the smallest trace of harmful bacteria. Natural disinfection also eliminates wastage on the balance sheet, cutting detergent, energy and water costs by up to 35%.

Watch our ‘How OTEX works’ guide here.

Why choose an ozone washer system?

For healthcare organisations, OTEX’s built-in validation provides the means to prove that their methods meet ‘Essential Quality Requirements’ as well as ‘Best Practices’, as set out by the new Choice Framework for local Policy and Procedure (HTM 01-04).

9 ozone laundry benefts for your business >>

With the ability to print ‘disinfection verification receipts’, OTEX users can comply with the guideline that “linen should be processed using a disinfection cycle complying with the specified level of reduction in bacteriological contamination and this process will be required to be validated”. Training is provided by JLA and advice is also given on how to categorise contaminated or soiled linen, as well as the handling of laundered items.

Easy installation

OTEX machines from JLA are installed on-site, with a Total Care package that provides 7-day breakdown cover for your commercial laundry equipment and a 24/7 helpline, ensuring businesses have total peace of mind that their laundry system is both effective and reliable.

Find out more about OTEX ozone disinfection >>

Case study: York Hospital

York Hospital, the flagship hospital of York Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, installed the OTEX ozone disinfection system for the disinfection of their microfibre cloths and mops as part of its plan to bring Domestic Services back in-house.

Wendy Dale, domestic services manager at York Hospital, says:

“Microfibre mops and cloths basically act like magnets for bacteria. What impressed us most about JLA was their OTEX innovation. The system’s ability to thoroughly disinfect and also reduce costs was a major factor when it came to choosing them as our supplier.”

“The OTEX washer system uses mostly cold water and faster wash cycles, dramatically reducing utility and detergent costs, and cutting labour bills by saving time.”

“Our laundry is in operation round the clock seven days a week, processing over 4,000 microfibre mops and cloths a day,” continues Wendy, “so being able to save energy was vital. JLA actually metered the electricity supply to the laundry and established that OTEX was saving us 82% compared to a conventional laundry. An added bonus is that we are using half as much detergent because of the way the system processes laundry.”

The disinfection system is so successful that York Hospital bosses recently announced the passing of a year without a patient acquiring the MRSA superbug infection.