DIA President's statement on industry standards and risk mitigation

As we look to close off towards the end of the financial year, it is time to reflect on the work that the DIA has done over the past 12 months and to look towards the future.

 Over the past one to two years, we have:

  • Amended the DIA Constitution was to reflect the changing nature of our membership base
  • Welcomed our first non-industry Board member, Mitchell Price, in October 2023 to provide fresh insight
  • Restructured DIA memberships and moved to a tiered system so our diverse membership base have their various business needs met
  • Implemented a new, more user-friendly website and customer relationship management system
  • Developed from scratch our first online training course with the support of the DLI in the USA and our second course is currently in development
  • Delivered regular technical advice and information to members
  • Joined the Federal Government Jobs and Skills Council to promote our industry at a Federal level and at a State Government level in South Australia
  • Rebranded the DIA to have a more modern, future focussed look

At the DIA Board meeting was held on 21 May 2024, the Board worked on a future focus priority list for our association and industry for the next 12 months.  We will now focus more than ever on increasing standards across the industry and help to mitigate risks.

 At the top of the list was addressing the urgent and critical issue of drycleaning and laundry plants being destroyed by fire.  At the moment the evidence is showing that one drycleaning/laundry plant is totally destroyed by fire every six weeks.  This is having a huge impact on insurance premiums but more importantly, on people’s lives and livelihoods.

 While some of the fires have been started by faulty electrical wiring or arson attacks the majority of them have been because of a lack of adherence to basic operating procedures when dealing with cleaning towels and taking them out of the dryer.

 With this in mind and aligning with the DIA’s Mission Statement to:

  • Inform and educate members and stakeholders
  • Set drycleaning industry standards

Our focus for the next 12 months is on promoting industry recommended standards and providing advice on mitigating risk in a drycleaning/laundry plant.

The first part of our plan is to spend the month of June providing technical information via email and Virtual Member Meetings on areas of risk that members should be aware of and steps that you can take to help address these risks.  June will be our “Safety and Risk Awareness” month.

 At the same time the DIA will be developing and releasing a set of self assessment standards that will be mandatory for all new members to complete and have a phase in period for current members.  These standards will cover all areas of a drycleaning/laundry business from safe handling of solvents to customer service. 

We acknowledge that we have members currently operating at a high standard and have done so for long periods of time, but the aim is to bring about greater awareness of how a good drycleaning/laundry plant should operate and how members can mitigate their risks. It is never too late to revisit and rethink your existing operations.  The release date of these standards is mid-July 2024, these standards are nothing new, just a relaunch and a revamp.

Members should not feel that these standards are a burden but rather they are an indication of where our industry needs to head especially if we are to work on the issues around fires in drycleaning and laundry plants.  The Drycleaners and Laundered Association of New Zealand (DLANZ) have recently introduced a similar initiative and for similar reasons.  We will work cooperatively with our neighbours across the ditch on this issue.

 As always, please contact Catherine in the DIA office via email or phone if you have any questions or feedback.

 Kind regards

Mark Ryan                                                                                                  Catherine Cluning
President                                                                                                  CEO
Drycleaning Institute of Australia                                               Drycleaning Institute of Australia