Managing infections in the workplace

Managing infections in the workplace

In the current climate, businesses are having to navigate their way through unprecedented change and uncertainty.

With many key workers unable to work from home – such as those in essential shops, warehouses and critical call centres, workplaces still pose a real risk when it comes to spreading bacteria and pathogens on common touchpoints. In shared work spaces, such as open offices or hotdesk environments, a key piece of equipment is often a hotbed for bacterial contamination – the computer keyboard and mouse.

Insufficient cleaning of keyboards and mice can create reservoirs of microorganisms, resulting in the spread of infections in the workplace. Whilst this continues to be addressed in healthcare settings, the issue is less well studied in office environments. A study by leading Microbiologist and Virologist at UCLH, Peter Wilson, examined the effects of increased cleaning of high-frequency touch sites.

Daily cleaning of computer keyboards, mice, and telephones was performed on one floor and compared with a control floor in an office building. Samples were taken weekly from keyboards and bacterial contamination was assessed over a 3-month period. Unsurprisingly, he found that increased cleaning reduced overall bioburden on keyboards from 27–44 CFU/25 cm2 to 7–11 CFU/25 cm2 (n = 550), when compared with standard practices.

However, keyboards were found to be re-contaminated once used and therefore required regular cleaning to achieve a lasting effect. Standard IT equipment cannot simply cope with increased levels of cleaning and even some ‘washable’ keyboards struggle to meet the demands of being cleaned with strong disinfectants.

The Medigenic range of keyboards and mouse was designed in partnership with UCLH and has been deployed across the NHS for the last ten years. With a patented ‘clean me’ alert system, the keyboard is now proving popular in non-medical environments as organisations look for ways to protect staff and keep workplaces infection-free. Designed to withstand and prompt for regular cleaning, it has been proven to reduce pathogen levels on keyboard surfaces by 70%.

APC Technology Group plc

The Medigenic range

  • Flat keyboard design with tactile keys to enable high-speed data entry
  • Hypoallergenic and latex-free
  • Sealed to IP67 standards for when complete submersion is required
  • Single ‘disable’ key allows fast sanitisation without the need to disconnect the keyboard
  • Abrasion and chemical resistant keyboard coating
  • USB plug and play, compatible with Windows and Mac
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In addition, the Medigenic Compliance model features an indicator that will flash and sound an alert to remind users to clean the keyboard. Alerts can be set to user-defined schedules using the supplied software, tailoring cleaning regimens to specific infection control practices. Only cleaning the keyboard will disable the alerts.

It is this patented technology which is helping businesses achieve better hygiene standards across shared workstations and remain operational in turbulent times. By enhancing protection for staff, the impact of cross-contamination and the spread of bacteria can be limited, helping to prepare businesses for a new way of working.

For more information, availability and pricing for the Medigenic range of infection control products, contact a member of our specialist team: