Covid-19 threat shows how much we need a revolution in washroom safety and hygiene

Written by

Tim Greenhalgh

Posted on

August 25, 2020

Posted in

The Covid-19 threat dramatically shows that we need a washroom revolution for safety and hygiene.

Many public toilets have reopened but are often used with an element of fear by many people despite social distancing, hand cleaning and other measures. It’s clear from research that there is an increased risk in these shared work and public utility spaces.

Now that offices and other workplaces have reopened, staff are also much more mindful of the challenges in using washroom facilities safely.

Hotels, restaurants and cafes are also open for business again with similar challenges being faced. The main point is that the old-fashioned equipment we use in washrooms and the public toilets involves a lot of hand contact with surfaces.

Managers of these services now really need to deploy the safest, most hygienic technologies, especially as we now know that Covid-19 will be with us for a long while. Studies show that closing the toilet seat lid before flushing can help to limit harmful microbes and viruses in the air – but it is almost impossible to enforce this.

Yet there are proven products readily available that make a trip to the loo safe in the virus age including:

And the savings in water costs from Propelair technology mean that the initial costs are repaid incredibly quickly.

The need for rapid and comprehensive change in facilities has been strongly promoted recently by the British Toilet Association (BTA) which is advising companies and local councils on the challenges of ensuring safety in this new “age of the virus”.

Flushing risks

Shared use of facilities has always carried an element of risk but the Covid-19 outbreak has focused the minds of researchers, manufacturers, providers and users, not least with the discovery in scientific studies that the Covid-19 virus is present in human faeces (1).

This is more than troubling as other studies have found that Covid-19 virus particles in the “aerosol” effect created by flushing the toilet (2). So, you don’t close the lid  before flushing,  a “toilet plume” of tiny droplets can travel up to 6 feet in all directions. But to be clear, there are no confirmed cases of infection through this as yet.

The Propelair choice

The Propelair toilet is significantly more hygienic than a standard toilet because it reduces airborne germs by 95% (Source: CREH)

It is operated when you close the lid, using the completely safe anti-microbial latch handle. This features Steritouch technology which is 99.9% effective against both MRSA and E.Coli, and there is no loss of anti-microbial performance, even after 10 years.

Associated benefits:

  • Superior flush performance than an old-style toilet
  • Quick refill time, reduces queues
  • Fewer blockages meaning fewer closures
  • Quieter than a standard toilet
  • Saves up to 84% water per flush
  • 81% of users value the water savings.

The Propelair toilet has clear lid which is more hygienic as cleaners can see when there is a blockage or it is dirty and clean it, and users can avoid it until fixed.

With old-fashioned toilets accounting for up to 70 – 85% of commercial water use in buildings Companies save up to 60% on operating costs, and can claim 100% tax relief on first-year investment.

The carbon footprint associated with these washroom facilities is reduced by 80%.

Safer public facilities

The Propelair toilet is one of many choices to be made in restructuring the public facilities we share, making them smarter and safer. The adoption of hands-free soap dispensers and sensor taps are other simple and effective ways to ensure highest standards of safety and hygiene.

But planners are now thinking very seriously about a fundamental shift in public toilet design with a move to gender-neutral facilities with one entrance, and one-way system where both sexes use the separate cubicles then wash hands with automated washbasins before leaving via another exit.

The BTA has been lobbying the government hard on the need for funding to enable councils to make the safety changes needed “as a matter of public health”.

The association’s managing director, Raymond Martin told the Sunday Times:

“Toilets have a massive commercial effect on an area, which is why they are one of the first things you plan in any new shopping centre. It’s going to cost a lot of money, but if we want to get back outdoors, to socialise, to go to parks and beaches, then the Government has to step in. We want to bring back life to this country, and toilets are a vital part of that.”

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