Fire doors are a vital part of fire safety and can only do their job in preventing the spread of fire and smoke if they are closed. A few minutes of ‘propping’ a door open can lead to grave consequences. If a fire door is wedged open this means that a fire can spread, at worst it will slow down the fire and smoke so people can be evacuated safely, at best it will save lives and protect the building from damage.
Keeping a fire door shut can hold a fire in a room for up to 30 minutes, which would usually give Fire and Rescue Service the time to respond and be attending the fire before it has a chance to spread. This critically gives people time to escape or seek refuge, and also allows the emergency services a safe and protected route into the building. It is even possible that an insurer would not pay as a result of fire doors being left open and there are penalties for not following the rules. A Norwich Landlord was jailed for 21 months and the Humber Landlords Association were fined £100,000. Fire doors are there for a reason and must be kept closed
There are lots of reasons that people wedge open fire doors, we all know they can be a pain when you are carrying a tray of drinks or if you are trying to navigate big heavy luggage. They can be a struggle if you are in a wheelchair or pushing a buggy and now on top of everything else; we are all aware that touching door handles can transfer germs on to our hands. With the rise of Covid-19, more and more people are reluctant to touch door handles as they are afraid of contamination, however, where fire doors are concerned, it is not a solution to avoid germs by wedging a fire-door open.
There is a simple solution with a device called StepNpull® The Foot Handle, a foot operated door pull which mounts on any commercial latch-less wood or metal door, and gives the user the option of pulling the door open with their foot instead of the door handle. It is the perfect solution for providing a touchless passage through a door. The surface area of StepNpull® which is in contact with the door face is small and the bolt through fixing is the same as those used to fix pull handles to door leaves. Therefore, following the users own risk assessment, this simple device can be used on fire doors. Don’t use the Corona-virus pandemic as an excuse for keeping your fire doors open, it is not an excuse as fire is a killer and germs can be avoided by providing a solution in the form of hands free door opening – StepNpull® The Foot Handle
During the COVID-19 pandemic, a number of “hot spots” were identified early on where the virus spread to large populations in New York, Washington and California.
When it comes to spreading COVID-19, plus other germs, bacteria and viruses, every public building and business has hot spots as well. These are areas that dozens of people touch on a normal day.
Consider how many people touch a restaurant menu during a normal week. Think about how often somebody reaches for the toilet doors in your office. Try to count how many fingers and hands make contact with elevator buttons, railings, conference room tables and light switches in a given workday.
Each contact has the potential to leave behind and pass along droplets from a sneeze or cough. Surfaces also collect particles that people can emit by just talking or exhaling. These droplets can contain a number of illness-inducing germs.
In fact, according to researchers at the University of Colorado, the average person’s hand carries more than 3,000 bacteria from at least 100 species.
The Centres for Disease Control (CDC) cites studies of COVID-19 that suggest it can remain viable for hours or days on surfaces, regardless of the material. Furthermore, it’s possible for the virus to spread by a person touching a contaminated surface or object and then touching their own mouth, nose, or eyes.
It’s not just the coronavirus that can live on surfaces. Bacteria can remain unchanged on an object after two weeks at room temperature. Studies have shown that influenza can survive on surfaces and can infect a person for up to eight hours.
It’s impossible to clean a common surface every time a person touches it. And no matter how much people are warned not to touch their faces, it’s become a habit too difficult for many to break.
The best way to minimize the spread of germs through common surfaces is to reduce the amount of contact altogether and a goal for all businesses to aim for in the post coronavirus world is to help employees and visitors avoid touching as many of the same surfaces as possible.
Ideas to accomplish this goal include:
• Installing hands-free, foot-operated door openers on all common doors, especially toilet exit doors. This will minimise how often employees touch germ-infested door handles with their hands. This is an inexpensive fix; you can easily install a device for about £35 per door.
• Installing motion-detection lighting throughout their facilities to reduce the touching of light switches. This can also decrease energy bills as lights will only come on when needed, which is better for the environment.
• Updating water, ice and beverage dispensers so they don’t require a user to touch a surface with their used cup to make the machine dispense liquid.
• Encouraging employees, customers and visitors to avoid touching surfaces with their fingertips. This is the part of the hand most likely to transmit a virus. Instruct people to use objects such as pens to push elevator doors and tissues to grab handrails.
The new normal in the post pandemic world is that more people will think about how everyday actions can spread germs and viruses. This preoccupation will not be limited to germaphobes. People will for a long time remember how COVID-19 killed and sickened thousands and led to a virtual halt to our way of life.
A business that wants to appeal to employees and customers in this new world will take the necessary steps to minimise how many objects people have to touch.
Towie’s Dan Osbourne using StepNpull at Weald Park Garage Brentwood.
This rather amusing notice came to our attention recently, it’s a notice to employees from their employers and business owners. The employees have a crucial hygiene role in the catering industry and its telling them to wash and dry hands before returning to work and as an afterthought in brackets they add that they much use a paper towel to open the door to prevent recontamination.
It’s actually great that a business owner recognises that recontamination takes place after people wash and dry their hands then touch the door handle as its been proved that toilet door handles are harbourers of germs and bacteria from people that fail to wash their hands correctly or simply don’t wash their hands (yes these people exist and we refer to them as ‘walkers’ as opposed to us clean and nice people that wash our hands correctly and are referred to as ‘washers’).
Despite it being great that a business recognises the fact that toilet doors are filthy things it’s not sustainable, healthy or efficient to have every employee to use a paper towel to open the toilet door so we strongly suggest they purchase and install a hands-free door opener and that’s where the StepNpull can help to enable employees to leave the toilet cleanly and efficiently and without them leaving a pile of paper towels behind the door.
Would you be happy knowing that the chance of you not having faecal matter on your food is only reduced if an employee remembers to read a notice and open the toilet door with a paper towel? No we didn’t think so. We suggest they fit a StepNpull and improve the hygiene of employees and reduce the health risks to the people eating the food prepared by these employees.
Health and Safety Executive researched injuries made in the workplace. According to the list of reported incidents and accidents causing employees to take time off work, ‘handling’ was the most reoccurring.
‘Handling’ refers to a list of ways a person may gain injury: including strains, sprains, lifting, carrying, pushing of pulling loads, trapped fingers and cuts from sharp objects.
In total there were 30,663 reported employee handling injuries. Over 90% of these reported injuries resulted in more than 3 days off work and over 800 injuries were obtained by members of the public. As a result, approximately 1.2 million working days were lost due to handling injuries, averaging out, per injury, 8.8 days off work!
Manual handling made up more than a third of the handling injuries, the main injury being of the back. And as lifting or putting down loads was the most common kind of an injury, spurning over 3 days off work, this is clearly an area that needs attention.
StepNpull offers an alternative to unnecessary strains on the body. Because you do not need your hands to open a door, you can remain bent-back-free, safely relocating your items. Noticeably reduce the risk with our products.