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Smart Hand Sanitisers To Provide Data for Workplace Managers 

Smart Hand Sanitisers To Provide Data for Workplace Managers 
16 February 2021
 

Smart hand sanitisers that can provide data on workplace hand hygiene are being trialled across the country, as part of research into how best to engage people with the latest COVID-19 guidance.

This data could be valuable to facilities and workplace managers, to help ascertain the best way to encourage sanitiser use in buildings. 

The research, by the Universities of Sheffield and Leeds, is in partnership with hand hygiene technology company, Savortex. They produce smart sanitisers can provide real-time data on how often people use them, send reminders to staff to sanitise their hands and help companies refill sanitisers more effectively.

The trials will start in a variety of office locations in spring 2021, including government departments and corporate head offices. 

 

“In many sectors, such as healthcare, staff are compelled as part of their job to clean their hands regularly for obvious reasons of patient safety, but as we don’t really know what motivates people to wash their hands in office spaces, it can be difficult and expensive for employers to run health and safety campaigns to encourage people to follow health and safety guidance.”

–Dr Sophie Rutter 

University of Sheffield’s Information School

 

Attitudes to Workplace Health and Safety

 

The new technology uses integrated video screens to display the latest workplace hand hygiene guidance. The sanitisers can monitor how often, or not, they are used, with some able to send reminders to staff to sanitise their hands, or restrict building access for those that haven’t.

Using the data from the trials, the researchers from the Universities of Sheffield and Leeds will analyse their effectiveness, how people feel about integrating smart technologies into their working life, their attitude to workplace health and safety guidance, and help facilities managers ensure the best use of the sanitisers in various environments.

As the evolving COVID-19 pandemic has not only changed how people live and work, it is also changing attitudes to the most benign day-to-day interactions, like shaking hands, or reaching for the door handle of a public building. Understandably many people are now wary of returning to busy office spaces and workplaces where there may be an increased risk of transmission.

Good hand hygiene is vital to stopping the spread of infection in environments like office spaces, where humans mix in close contact, regularly touching surfaces that could be potentially contaminated, like door handles and taps.

As the recognised approach to infection prevention worldwide, not just to minimise their risk of catching coronavirus, studies show good hand hygiene can reduce the risk of contracting a respiratory virus by 55 per cent, or reduce it to five times less for health workers.

 

Data to Minimise Risk

 

Dr Sophie Rutter from the University of Sheffield’s Information School, said: “In many sectors, such as healthcare, staff are compelled as part of their job to clean their hands regularly for obvious reasons of patient safety, but as we don’t really know what motivates people to wash their hands in office spaces, it can be difficult and expensive for employers to run health and safety campaigns to encourage people to follow health and safety guidance.

The data generated by something as simple as a smart hand sanitiser may seem extreme to some, but Dr Rutter believes, also necessary in supporting workplaces to minimise the risks of colleagues transmitting the virus to each other. 

She added: “It is so important that people adopt the highest hand hygiene standards if we are to reduce the impact of COVID-19 on our daily lives, so empowering employers to create a healthy and safe environment for everyone is not only necessary, it will also improve the wellbeing of all by reducing the risk of virus transmission in our workplaces.”

Nicholas Gill from Savortex, said: “The research previously done by the universities into how the right messaging could help school children improve their handwashing, inspired us to see how we could use our technology to battle the pandemic by encouraging best-practice in hand hygiene in the workplace.

“The pandemic has been the catalyst for rapid development of new and novel solutions to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and empower companies to take control of hygiene management and staff wellbeing. This not only reassures people returning to work that they are in a safe and secure environment, but can also help companies work smarter and more sustainably to keep their staff safe.”

Picture: a graphic showing a person with a face mask and a bottle of hand sanitiser

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 16 February 2021

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