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WAE | Logo
24 Aug
By WAE on "Environment"

Top trend of The New Normal : THE TOUCHLESS WORKPLACE

In order to effectively achieve a safe working environment, Touch needs to be limited or eliminated and education must be provided to highlight the appropriate products and practices for absolute protection from infections through fomites.

Full Article

It would not be an exaggeration to regard, the COVID-19 pandemic as the globalized world’s most localized emergency. It is indeed the world’s fastest disease outbreak that turned into a pandemic. In recent times, no other disease or infection has ever gripped the globe at this alacrity and forced the entire world into an involuntary lockdown, and brought nations and their economies to their knees.

Six months into the pandemic, 2,32,03,597 confirmed COVID-19 cases across 188 counties, which has led to 8,04,411 deaths, reports the World Health Organization (WHO). The actual number of people infected with SARS-CoV-2 is most likely to be much higher since numerous infections, especially in younger people, are asymptomatic and frequently not captured by routine diagnostic methods. The world is yet to even imagine a recovery. It is an epochal event that is (and will be) fundamentally changing the world order and the way we exist in consonance with nature. COVID-19 has impacted all our existential coordinates.

Respiratory infections like SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing COVID-19 infection, can spread through droplets in the air when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or even is in close contact and can also spread by touching dirty or infected surfaces classified as fomites. Erin Bromage, a comparative immunologist and biology professor at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, explained that "that high touch surfaces like railings and doorknobs, elevator buttons, taps, etc are the primary drivers of the infection."

Recent studies have found that the new coronavirus potential for infection transmission-organisms can live on the device surface for prolonged periods of time. One meta-analysis reviewing the research data highlighted 39 studies that identified possible nosocomial infection organisms on frequently used surfaces and can serve as microbial reservoirs for viral RNA. To further support this point, it has been reported that 73.7% of touchpoints tested were colonized with viruses and bacteria, while another study reported that 100% of the bacteria found on touchpoints were also on the user's hands.

Overall, these findings highlight that once practices are reviewed, gaps can be identified, and education and planning can be initiated for ultimate mitigation. Traditionally, when we think about the healthcare environment, the predominant infection prevention tactics have been hand hygiene and surface cleaning and disinfection. All that still holds good but how to dispense the disinfectant and how to avoid touch is becoming more relevant. The prevention landscape is rapidly changing and now the shift is touchless technologies.

Water plays a major role in our daily lives and in context to the prevailing epidemic the UN-Water agency notes that the ‘spread of this virus is closely related to water and sanitation’. It's imperative now to make water dispensing in our workplaces, schools, institutions, hospitals, and Airports absolutely safe. Water taps in the washroom, kitchen, water dispensers, drinking water fountains, etc are a primary source of contamination as its impossible to control hygiene of users. Advance water treatment process and products follow 5 or more stages of purification to eliminate toxins and advance UV C systems take care of Microbes but taps in washrooms, water dispensers, drinking water fountains, etc are high-risk areas and infection can spread fast by a simple touch.   Touchless taps, dispensers, are the only viable alternative to keep a safe distance from the contamination.

Water purification and Touchless dispensing stations and Bottle refill stations are a must in workplaces, schools, and public utilities as they not only provide zero contact experience but also keep fomites like plastic water jars out of premises, which could be the potential career of virus and bacteria, including COVID -19. It’s imperative now to put in place a sound isolation strategy to secure workplaces from all possible sources of infection and disinfecting water Jars and bottles is going to be a big challenge and threat in this COVID infected world. Apart from standard precautions, safe practices and firm ‘no to bottled water’ and adopting point of use purification and supported touchless technologies can be extremely helpful to break the chain and flatten the curve.

"You can't be in lockdown for 18 months. We'll destroy society as we know it, and we don't know what we'll accomplish with it...We can't just let the virus go. Lots of people will die and it'll shut down our health system, not just for COVID patients, but for anyone with a health problem. What we need is an effective isolation  strategy to limit and contain the spread .”



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