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April 15, 2021

Prepare for “the new normal” with NoTouch® access control solutions

In times of crisis, people look to secure their safety; as the world prepares for “the new normal” it is vital to move from a reactive mind-set to a proactive one, with health and safety at the forefront of people’s minds.

As businesses begin to reopen and the public sector unlocks, access control will play a key role in infection control – keeping employees, customers, and the general public safe from transmission.

Post-COVID research discovered when “out and about”, almost half of British people surveyed now want “motion sensors so you don’t have to touch things.” We must rethink how we interact with our environment; listening to our customers throughout the pandemic, Safety Technology International have sought a solution for contactless entries and exits.

Honouring the problem-solving blueprint of company founder Jack Taylor, the inventor of the original Stopper® protective cover, the new NoTouch® Buttons harness the power of current infrared technology to stem the spread of COVID-19.

When used in conjunction with an automatic door opener or hands-free foot plate, as suggested by the Health and Safety Executive, the buttons provide a completely touchless entry and exit system, requiring no physical contact at all.

To activate the NoTouch® Button, a person must simply wave or gesture their hand in front of the infrared sensor at a variable detection range. The device will detect this motion, indicated by dual colour status LEDs, then open or unlatch the door for an adjustable amount of time, without the user needing to touch a button.

Physical push buttons, door handles, and push plates are notorious as a focal point for germs; playing host to bacteria such as E-coli, Salmonella, and Staphylococcus Aureus, as well as viral infections like Norovirus, Influenza, and Coronavirus, for up to 9 days.

The strategy of using doors as physical barriers in hospitals and health care facilities, to limit the spread of transmission between clinical areas, is undermined when these traditional boundaries become contaminated – instead aiding the spread of pathogens.

Researchers revealed contamination of just a single door results in the spread of viruses throughout office buildings, hotels, and health care facilities; within just two to four hours the virus could be detected on 40 to 60 per cent of workers and visitors in the facilities.

Replacing traditional entry systems, such as push buttons and lever handles, the award-winning NoTouch® Buttons are available in both cast aluminium, for industrial applications, and medical/food grade stainless steel making them ideal for hospitals and health care facilities.

A choice of standard text options, custom labelling, and flush or surface buttons allow the contactless access control range to be used in a variety of settings. Models available include mullion, US single gang, and European single gang – slightly oversized faceplates allow units to retrofit over previous installations.

Right through the pandemic, health care professionals have warned us to refrain from touching our face, something which is considered human nature, but greatly increases transmission. Studies have shown we touch our face 23 times an hour and are particularly vulnerable to touching the areas around the mouth, nose, and eyes – even after we have exposure with door handles.

This alarming habit highlights the important role hand hygiene plays in protecting us from germs. Access control is often the first or last physical contact we make with a building, by removing this contact with a no touch solution not only is hand hygiene vastly improved but the risk of contamination and spread diminished.

The importance of hand hygiene is supported by the World Health Organization: “Hand hygiene is one of the most effective actions you can take to reduce the spread of pathogens and prevent infections, including the COVID-19 virus.”

Disinfecting surfaces, provision of hand sanitiser, and proper hand washing all protect against contamination and transmission, however, this is heavily reliant on the compliance of staff and visitors – something which cannot always be guaranteed, particularly in public buildings. This uncontrollable variable is ultimately avoided with the use of STI’s NoTouch® Buttons.

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