15 Apr 2020

Open it with your foot – reduce the risk of transmitting infections from door handles

The COVID-19 virus pandemic has radically changed our way of life. Many everyday practices that we didn’t even think about a good month ago are now in the spotlight. One of these is the touch. While contact with humans can more or less be avoided, our hands are an indispensable tool, as well as potential carriers of viruses and microorganisms.

In the context of human interaction with a building, which we deal with e.g. in the MOBISTYLE project, there is a lot of room for improvement, both in terms of health, lowering energy consumption and improving our living conditions. In addition to technical solutions, our practices also have a significant impact; interaction with our surroundings can be improved for the common good by some fundamental changes in our behaviour, which are being emphasized by experts in these weeks, e.g. avoiding touching your face, frequently washing our hands and the like. The ways we use buildings can be improved during the time we spend at home with a few simple measures, such as ventilating rooms by regularly opening windows, turning off lights and using stairs instead of elevators. It is particularly important, however, to pay attention to those critical points where the likelihood of transmitting infections is greatest, and this is of course not only true during a pandemic. The most obvious culprits are the door handles in buildings frequented by a number of people, that is, multi-apartment and commercial buildings and public institutions. For example, a study conducted in offices, hotels, and medical facilities found that the virus was transmitted from one door handle to 40-60 percent of building users in just two to four hours.

What can we do? IRI UL project manager, Jure Vetršek, MSc, cooperated with the company Skitti d.o.o.  in an action with which they attempted to mitigate the transmission of infections. They designed and produced door foot pulls, which in the case of electronic locks enable and facilitate the hands-free opening of the door. For doors where the pin does not retract automatically, we press the door handle with our elbows, and then pull or push the door with our foot.

The metal processing company responded quickly and efficiently. The first 230 door foot pulls, which are already for sale, were donated to the municipality of Zagorje, which installed them over a couple of days in multi-apartment buildings and other facilities frequented by higher numbers of people. Check out how door foot pulls work on www.odpriznogo.si or see the video below!