The need for hands free door openers in the workplace

Posted by Lee Bessell on

Increasing government pressure for employees to return to work where-ever it is safe to do so, and with the furlough scheme due to end in October, employers across the country are looking for ways to create covid-secure workplaces.


There have already been a range of changes implemented by supermarkets and other public facing workplaces – Including the introduction of protective screens at the checkout, revised store layouts and set customer lanes to enable better social distancing, and encouraging people to reduce the number of items they physically touch throughout the store.


With experts now saying that the SARs-Coronavirus-19 virus can survive on surfaces including door handles for up to nine days - Some of the key areas of transmission in the workplace are items that are frequently touched by multiple users such as toilets, door handles, kettles, vending machines, and shared equipment.


How can we reduce the need to touch door handles?

Most of the time, regular cleaning with chemicals such as bleach and exercising good hand hygiene is enough to limit the spread of viruses throughout the workplace. However, when it comes to reducing the need to touch door handles, there have been a few different approaches to tackling the problem. These solutions range in cost and complexity:

  • Removal of doors where possible

    • Pros: Removes the danger of transmitting viruses via door handles.

    • Cons: Not appropriate for every workplace.


  • Stickers on door handles reminding people of the possible unseen danger

    • Pros: The stickers act as a reminder for users to wash their hands frequently.

    • Cons: The stickers do not protect the user from viruses or bacteria being transfer from the handle.


  • Handle adapters – Hygienic handles are an example of this

    • Pros: There is a visible change to the handle and the user needs to use either their arm or foot to open the door. As a secondary barrier the silver-ion paint used on the handles will kill bacteria and deactivate viruses over time.

    • Cons: A ‘how-to-use’ sign close to the adapted handle may be necessary for some user groups.


  • Handles with wraps which release antibacterial agents 

    • Pros: There is visible change to the handle.

    • Cons: Only suitable for a limited style of door handles. The wraps rely on Silver Ion technology as the primary barrier, which takes time to kill bacteria and deactivate viruses – Limited protection in high use handles.

    • Remote and hands-free openers using proximity sensors

      • Pros: These systems can almost entirely remove the need for employees to touch door handles

      • Cons: The retrofit cost is considerably higher than alternative solutions. Time to implement these solutions is also significant, with building a works required, which may not be completed prior to a return to work.


    There is certainly no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to reducing the spread of viruses on frequently touched surfaces such as door handles. The challenges faced by companies, and the ways to overcome these, are likely to change depending on the work environment and the user group it serves.

    The practical implementation of hands-free doors, along with a variety of other workplace changes, like that of maintaining social distancing, will no doubt be the source of debate for some time to come. However, employers are under increasing pressure to be seen to be taking the problem seriously and making visible changes to the work environment to protect staff and restore employee confidence.

    In the end, washing our hands more regularly, periodic deep cleaning, antibacterial gels and adaptations to the physical environment are ultimately what will help companies create, safe, covid-secure workplaces.


    See the latest government advice :-



    Hygienic Handles

    Easily Convert Doors to “Hands-Free” Opening. Facilities & Office Managers: Protect staff by making workplace robust to COVID-19 cross-infection: make doors “hands-free” with our easily installed products. Designed & produced in Britain and in stock, ready for despatch. Learn more at:


    Hygienic Handles is the new division of Astor Bannerman Ltd of Cheltenham, medical/care equipment suppliers with over 25 years’ experience & expertise. The new range of Hygienic Handles equipment enables doors to be opened and closed by arm or foot, removing the need for hand contact with the handle, to create a safer workplace and protect your people. #handsfreedoors #workplacesafety #protectingpeople #stopthevirus #stopthespread #stopcovid19

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