A hospital door handle that also sanitises your hands

The PullClean handles in action

The PullClean handles in action

Hospital acquired infections are a major problem around the world, costing billions of health care dollars as well as causing a lot of pain and suffering. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), more than half of these infections could be prevented by caregivers properly cleaning their hands at key moments in patient care. It sounds so simple … so what’s the problem? It would appear that the problem lies not in health workers avoiding hand hygiene opportunities, they just forget to clean their hands as often as they should (as encouraged by the WHO’s Five Moments for Hand Hygiene).

Now there’s an elegant solution in the form of a door handle that encourages people to clean their hands every time they use it. The handle, PullClean, was developed by the British studio Agency of Design for Altitude Medical. It’s a simple column that can be fitted on any pull door, with a blue paddle on bottom that dispenses a dab of hand sanitiser when pushed. The aim, the designers explain, is to “make it so simple that sanitising becomes habitual every time you open the door.” Continue reading

Carbon Neutral Bricks

Photo of sawdustAustral Bricks Longford operation in Tasmania is the first brick-making facility to receive certification under the Australian Government’s voluntary Carbon Neutral Program, which requires the measurement, auditing and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and the offset of any remaining emissions (such as raw material extraction, onsite transport, product deliveries across Australia and internationally, water usage, packaging, waste and business operations).

Clay bricks are often accused of being environmentally compromised due to the relatively high natural gas consumption required in kiln firing. This simplistic approach overlooks their long life, role as thermal mass in an energy-efficient design, reusability, and the fact that bricks do not require resource-hungry finishes such as paint or render to maintain their good looks and durability. Austral Bricks claim that bricks with their high thermal mass can save up to 25 per cent off annual energy bills. Continue reading

Green Room’s Top Five Green Apps

green_appsLooking for great environmentally focused apps for your iPhone or iPod? Look no further! Here are Green Room’s favourite apps to help you live a more sustainable life. All available from the iTunes store.

1. Carbon Tracker (free) –This great app uses GPS to calculate your carbon footprint based on how much you travel. You can chart your carbon emission changes by month and set goals to decrease them. The app factors emission for planes, train and cars, as well as a few other vehicles. Continue reading

Workplace related injuries and deaths – when are you required to notify?

Screenshot of Incident Notification fact sheetWe all understand the importance of workplace safety, the tenets of which are enshrined in the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (WHS Act), making employee safety and wellbeing a legal requirement for all Australian employers. The benefits to both employers and employees extend beyond compliance: access to appropriately and fully stocked first aid kits and automated defibrillators can mean the difference between life and death; the use of wet area rubber floor mats or anti-fatigue mats can prevent accidents occurring in the first place.

However, the employer’s responsibility doesn’t end there. The WHS Act also requires persons conducting a business or undertaking (PCBUs) to notify the regulator immediately after becoming aware that a notifiable incident arising out of the conduct of the business or undertaking has occurred. Significant penalties apply to PCBUs who fail to notify: up to $10,000 for an individual or $50,000 for a corporation. Continue reading

Wollongong part of largest fundraiser in Australia


Tooting horns and the steady grumble of trucks and motorbikes filled the Illawarra on Sunday 17 November as more than 1500 vehicles, including four trucks from Alsco’s Wollongong branch took part in the i98FM Camp Quality Convoy. The annual event is the largest fundraiser in Australia, having raised over $5 million dollars since 2005 for children living with cancer and their families.

alsco_trucks Continue reading

Carpet manufacturer shows the world how to reduce carbon emissions and water usage

Photo of Interface carpet

Interface carpet (Credit: Interface FLOR)

Back in 1994, Ray Anderson, the founder of Interface – one of the world’s largest carpet manufacturers – challenged his employees to pursue a bold new vision: to “be the first company that, by its deeds, shows the entire world what sustainability is in all its dimensions: people, process, product, place and profits – and in doing so, become restorative through the power of influence”. Using the inspiration its designers found in the natural world, Interface developed its ‘Mission Zero’ campaign, which aims for zero emissions, zero waste and zero oil by 2020. Continue reading

A milestone for Alsco – the move to Glendenning – one year on

Clean Room Garments, Deane Apparel and Fresh & Clean have all settled in after making the big move.glendenning


In the 50th Year of operation there was a milestone for Alsco. The new building at Glendenning was complete and Clean Room Garments, Deane Apparel and Fresh & Clean had made the big move in. Continue reading

New invention improving work safety

Glove shows its true colorsThe Fraunhofer Research Institution in Germany has created gloves that indicate if hazardous substances are present by changing colour.

Employees in chemical production, the semiconductor industry or in laboratories are frequently exposed to harmful substances. The biggest problem with this is that many of these toxic substances are imperceptible to human senses, meaning workers don’t know when they’ve been exposed. Continue reading

Multiple changes to legislation across Australia

whs_2014WHS ROUND-UP

It’s been an exciting year on the WHS front with multiple changes to legislation across most of Australia. There is now a standardised measure for safety (WHS) across Australia (except for WA and Victoria) and Alsco has reviewed their 4801 system to ensure every branch and all Alsco employees follow the safety system.

Despite the number of changes we have faced this year, there are a couple of genuine positives that have occurred in 2013: Continue reading

Ray rides for cancer research

Ray Lipscombe, from Alsco’s Melbourne branch, has found a great way to support a worthwhile cause:

The Cancer Research Ride participants

The Cancer Research Ride participants

I have always enjoyed riding a bike, however about eight years ago I realised I wasn’t getting any younger, so I decided to give myself a few challenges. I started to do a few long rides, however after a few years I thought I needed a bigger challenge and came up with the idea of riding from Sydney to Melbourne. Continue reading