‘Smart’ hand sanitisers to aid office hygiene research

‘Smart’ hand sanitisers that provide data on workplace hand hygiene are being trialled across the country.

smart hand sanitisers
Covid-19 (Image by Tumisu from Pixabay)

The smart hand sanitisers are part of research by the Universities of Sheffield and Leeds into the best ways of engaging people with the latest Covid-19 workplace hand hygiene guidance.


The new technology contains integrated video screens to display the latest workplace hand hygiene guidance and provide real-time data for employers to use in their fight against Covid-19.

Developed by London-based Savortex, the sanitisers can monitor in real-time how often, or not, they are used, with some able to send reminders to staff to sanitise their hands, or restrict building access for those that haven’t.

According to Savortex CTO Christopher Dockrill, the smart hand sanitiser can work in a variety of ways depending on parameters available or set by the building owners.

“For example, if a building already uses an RFID entry system, the sanitisers can be linked to this to automatically send emails to staff that have entered a building without using the hand sanitiser. Or depending on the requirements of the building owners, could bar entry to the workspace unless the sanitiser has been used,” he said. “The smart sanitiser is GDPR compliant – it only reads the staff ID card number, via RFID tag on staff ID card and RFID reader built into the unit – so there are no specifics about the person to identify the user.

Dockrill added that the anonymised data remains disconnected from the organisation’s employee data to allow the organisation to educate or inform their workforce as they find appropriate. The method of informing people can be via an in-app push notification from a workplace app or e-mail, the best practice of which is one of the outcomes from research by the Universities of Leeds and Sheffield.

Using the data from the trials, the researchers from the Universities of Sheffield and Leeds will analyse their effectiveness, how people feel about integrating smart technologies into their working life, their attitude to workplace health and safety guidance, and help employers ensure the best use of the sanitisers in various environments.

Dr Sophie Rutter, from Sheffield University’s Information School, said: “This technology will allow us to identify the extent to which people are sanitising their hands in office settings and we can also use this technology to share with office workers the extent to which people are sanitising their hands at work.

“We hope that this could offer peace of mind to office workers who otherwise wouldn’t know if their colleagues were sanitising their hands.”

Good hand hygiene is vital to stopping the spread of infection in environments like office spaces. A 2014 study from Arizona University found that from only one contaminated surface – such as a door handle – a virus can spread and infect up to 60 per cent of present staff members in a shared office space within two hours.