Clean Hands, Clean Devices: How to End the Cycle of Cross Contamination

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If you're diligent about clean hands, you understand how germs spread through hand contact. It's likely that you wash your hands before you eat food and after you sneeze. But what about after touching the object you interact with most often? Picture this. You walk into a grocery store with clean hands, and you contaminate them by touching a cart handle. Then you grab your phone to check your grocery list or answer a text. There's bacteria on phones. Bam. You're back at square one. You now have dirty hands and a dirty device.

Is there anything we touch more throughout the day than our phones? Probably not. If you're an average user, you're tapping, typing, swiping and clicking over 2,600 times per day![i] Once you come in contact with contaminated surfaces, then grab your phone, it could then be the culprit for spreading germs. You're stuck in an endless loop of cross-contamination, but you don't have to be.

Get Charged Up for Good Hand Hygiene

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recognises that touching a contaminated surface or object is how germs spread. You can help yourself, and those around you stay healthy by practicing good hand hygiene, including washing your hands often and routinely cleaning frequently touched surfaces. "For example: tables, doorknobs, light switches, handles, desks, toilets, faucets, sinks, and electronics."[ii]

Let's start with CDC's recommendations for healthy hand hygiene. Help stop germs from spreading throughout your home, workplace or classroom by washing your hands during the key times you are likely to get and spread germs. This includes but is not limited to before, during, and after preparing food, before eating food, after using the toilet, and after coughing or sneezing.

Every time you wash, scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds and "lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails, making sure you clean all areas of your hands," states the CDC.

Side Note: The CDC suggests humming the "Happy Birthday" song from beginning to end twice if you need a timer. Personally, we prefer to sing the chorus to "Charge Me Up" by Jennifer Lopez, but you do you. You can even generate your very own handwashing infographic based on your favorite song at washyourlyrics.com. Don't worry, the lyrics don't have to be clean, and we promise we won't judge your singing chops as long as you're washing those hands often.

For health care personnel, the CDC advises to use an alcohol-based hand rub or wash with soap and water:

  • Before touching a patient, performing an aseptic task or handling invasive medical devices, and moving from work on a soiled body site to a clean body site on the same patient
  • After touching a patient or the patient's immediate environment, contact with blood, body fluids, or contaminated surfaces and after glove removal

Guidelines spell out the importance of knowing what it could take to keep patients safe. "Studies show that some healthcare providers practice hand hygiene less than half of the times they should. Healthcare providers might need to clean their hands as many as 100 times per 12-hour shift, depending on the number of patients and intensity of care."[iii]

Touchless, 360-Degree Sanitisation

Proper sanitisation methods lower germs on a surface, which can reduce the risk of spreading germs. For electronics, the CDC guidelines recommend considering the use of alcohol-based wipes or spray containing at least 70% alcohol to disinfect touch screens.[iv] However, to be effective, traditional wipes can take upwards of three minutes to disinfect. This time adds up for healthcare professionals, teachers and IT staff who need to sanitise multiple devices. If you're looking for a better way, the UVone UV-C disinfection for mobile devices works in just 30 seconds, making sanitisation six times quicker than traditional wipes. Also, UV-C light disinfects in a consistent manner, making it more reliable and efficient than wipes—plus, it does not degrade the integrity of devices over time.

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We understand the appeal of wanting to sanitise multiple devices at once, as some UV disinfection charging stations claim to do. However, we caution against buying a product that sounds too good to be true. It is incredibly challenging to disinfect with UV light inside of a cart. Racks and shelving can block UV-C light, so can other devices. Keep in mind; pathogens aren't just lingering on screens. They're all over your device. To disinfect an entire object, it must have 360-degree exposure to UV-C light rays. Think of it like putting a lid on a dirty pot and sticking it in the dishwasher. At the end of the cleaning cycle, the outside may be spotless, but the inside will be a dirty mess.

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Also, if you utilise a UV disinfection station, but you have to physically touch the unit to open and close it, guess where you are? Back in the cycle of cross-contamination. With the UVone device disinfection, simply wave a hand above the system to open it, place the device inside, and then wave a hand again to close it. There's no need to ever physically touch the station.

Clean Hands, Clean Devices

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Remember all of those key times throughout the day you're supposed to be washing your hands? Guess what? Healthy hand hygiene and device hygiene go hand-in-hand. While it may seem logical to disinfect devices overnight, disinfecting once per day may not be enough to stop the spread of viruses. As germs are spread by users touching devices multiple times a day, sanitising them more often can prevent cross-contamination. Luckily, UVone's sleek design means it can be placed where it's most convenient and likely to be used, contributing to better sanitising practices.

What if during the seconds that it takes to wash your hands, you could sanitise your device too? By the time it takes you to walk over to the sink and scrub up while singing the chorus of your favorite song, your UVone sanitised device will be even cleaner than your hands. Clean hands, clean device, and a swift end to the cycle of cross-contamination.

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Now that you know what clean hands and clean devices can do for you, contact us to learn more about the zero-touch, 360-degree disinfection for tablets, phones and mobile devices to a 5-log* kill in just 30 seconds.

Sources

[i] Putting a Finger on Our Phone Obsession - dscout, Inc.

[ii] Cleaning and Disinfection for Households - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

[iii] Hand Hygiene Guidance - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

[iv] Cleaning and Disinfection for Households - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

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6 Things to Consider When Evaluating a UV Disinfection Charging Station

Recently, the Environmental Protection Agency warned the public that disinfectants and sanitisers falsely claiming to protect against the coronavirus are flooding the market to take advantage of the pandemic. In light of this advisory, and how incredibly challenging it is to disinfect with UV light inside of a cart, it's essential to be cautious and informed when evaluating UV disinfection charging stations.

We urge you to do your homework before purchasing products that say they kill pathogens as well as perform other functions. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Here are six things to consider before clicking the Buy Now button:

1. Ensure UV-C Light Comes into Contact with ALL Device Surfaces While Inside the Station.

For an object to be disinfected, it must have full exposure to UV-C light rays. But what exactly is UV-C light, and how do UV-C lights work?

We all know about the sun's UV rays and their harmful effects, that's why we slather on the sunscreen when we head outside. But did you know there are actually three different types of UV rays? Most UV rays that you come in contact with from the sun are longer wavelength UV-A rays. In addition to UV-A rays, there are also UV-B and UV-C rays. When it comes to disinfection, not all kinds of UV are effective. UV-C rays have the shortest wavelengths and the most energy. That's why they do such a great job breaking apart germ DNA, leaving it unable to function or reproduce.

Unlike UV-A and UV-B light, UV-C light is germicidal. It can even neutralise "superbugs" that have developed a resistance to antibiotics. UV-C light penetrates the cell and disrupts the DNA, killing the pathogen.

For an entire object to be disinfected, it must have full exposure to UV-C light rays. Therefore when evaluating a touch free UV disinfection station, always ask, "Is the device resting on a solid shelf or on clear glass?" For full exposure, the device MUST be resting on clear glass because touch free UV-C light cannot penetrate a surface unless it's clear. If your object is in contact with a dark surface such as a shelf, rack, or even when the light is being blocked by another device, it will NOT be fully disinfected.

When searching for a UV disinfection station that not only charges devices but also disinfects laptops, Chromebooks, or other devices that fold in half, another vital question to ask is about those bacteria-loving keyboards. Unless you want your keyboards to be home to almost three times more bacteria than a public toilet seat, be sure also to ask, "Is the keyboard fully exposed to the UV-C light?"

2. Read the Research Behind any UV Disinfection Claims

The best way to protect yourself and your investment is to read the research behind a manufacturer's claims. Check out this guide as to what to look for in UV-C testing research data.

  • Laboratories outside of the United States may test based on different standards. Was the research done by a trustworthy, BSL (Biosafety Level) lab?
  • If so, what biosafety level is the lab? There are BSL-1, -2, -3, and -4 level labs. BSL-4 being the most stringent. There are only thirteen BSL-4 laboratories in the U.S. According to the CDC, SARS-COV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, must be tested by a BSL-3 lab. Check out the CDC's article on "Recognizing the Biosafety Levels" to learn more about the characteristics of the four biological safety levels and laboratory practice.
  • Was any research or testing done in the field, meaning outside of a lab? Did users find the device effective and useful?
3. Understand the Significance of Exposure Time and Kill Rate for Disinfection

For UV-C light to be effective, exposure time is critical. For example, waving a UV-C wand over an object will not disinfect it, unless the light directly hits every part of the surface for the prescribed and tested exposure time. 

When evaluating stations, it's very important to assess what percentage of a given germ is killed by the UV disinfection process. This percentage is also known as the kill rate. In the healthcare industry, the strongest kill rate claim you can make is 99.9999%. Keep in mind that decimal points matter. 99% is not the same as 99.999%. For those of you in IT, you know that those extra 9's in uptime can make a big difference! 99% uptime means over three days of downtime per year, whereas 99.999% uptime translates to only 3 minutes of downtime per year.

UVone rapid UV-C technology disinfects devices to a 5-log kill, reducing the colony to 10 MRSA bacterium after a 99.999%* reduction.

*LocknCharge's kill rate claims are based on data conducted by an accredited, GLP compliant, BSL-2 laboratory. Kill rate claims for MRSA at a 5-log kill or 99.999% are based on final GLP testing. Kill rate claims for C. Diff are at a 4-log kill or 99.997% in 60 seconds and a 3-log kill or 99.9% in 30 seconds. C. Diff results are based on final GLP testing. Real world results may vary. Request our full test data.

4. Determine How Much Physical Contact Is Needed to Operate the Sanitising Unit

There's a reason why hospitals mount touch-free automatic hand sanitiser dispensers around their facilities. Touch-free delivery eliminates cross-contamination to help reduce the spread of germs and encourage use.

Is the disinfection station that you're considering labeled touchless or zero-touch? If bacteria are on the outside of the station, and you have to touch the station to open it, doesn't that defeat the purpose of sanitising the device in the first place?

With the touch free UVone device disinfection, a user simply waves a hand above the system to open it, places the device inside, then waves a hand again to close it. There's no need to ever physically touch the portable uv steriliser.

5. Be Cautious of Other Sanitising Products, Such as Ozone Disinfection

Ozone molecules in the atmosphere are what forms the protective ozone layer in Earth's atmosphere. Remember those UV rays we were talking about earlier? The ozone layer is what blocks UV-C light from reaching the earth's surface. Ozone disinfection uses ozone gas rather than UV light to disinfect surfaces. There are advantages to ozone disinfection because gas can engulf an object, such as the keyboard of a closed Chromebook, more successfully than light. It can also be more effective on porous surfaces like fabric, which is why this method is often used in dry cleaning services.

However, ozone comes with risks—really BIG ones at that.

  • Ozone is very reactive and corrosive. Any material exposed to ozone gas can rapidly deteriorate, which in this case would include mobile devices and charging units.
  • Ozone gas is toxic. Any leaks in the cabinet or charging station can have significant effects on people. According to the EPA, "When inhaled, ozone can damage the lungs. Relatively low amounts of ozone can cause chest pain, coughing, shortness of breath and, throat irritation. It may also worsen chronic respiratory diseases such as asthma as well as compromise the ability of the body to fight respiratory infections."

Here are some tips as to what to look for in portable UV-C light sterilising products that claim to use ozone disinfection.

  • Find out if the ozone production of the charging station is below the EPA recommended ambient concentration of 0.05ppm. It has been shown that ozone content above 0.3ppm can cause lung issues, so if any leak in the cabinet occurs during ozone generation, this can have significant effects on people in a classroom or factory setting. This is why the EPA and OSHA have made an ambient ozone limit of 0.05ppm.
  • Be sure to check with local regulations as well. For example, the state of California has strict regulations around acceptable levels of ozone emission, which may likely be above levels solutions offer.
6. Consider How Important It Is to Have Device Charging and Disinfection in One Device

It may seem like a dream come true to have an all-in-one disinfection charging cart. But if you step back and look at the larger picture, the benefits of LocknCharge's unique solutions prove that two separate devices can be better for both disinfection and charging.

  • The sleek, compact design means the UVone portable UV sanitiser for mobile devices seamlessly integrates into any environment. Unlike a larger charging station, it can be placed where it is most likely to be used—such as outside a locker room, restroom, or lunchroom. Hygiene compliance is much more likely if it's simple, convenient and visible.
  • While it may seem logical to charge and disinfect devices overnight, imagine if you only washed your hands in the morning when you get up? Just like washing hands, disinfecting once per day may not be enough to stop the spread of viruses. Sanitising more often can prevent cross-contamination as germs are spread by users touching devices multiple times per day.

LocknCharge offers a complete suite of solutions for mobile device charging, storage and security. Easily pair UVone with a LocknCharge charging station that works best for you to ensure devices are reliably sanitised, charged, and ready for use at all times.

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Planning for the Unplannable

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Background

The small Cleveland, Ohio suburb of Shaker Heights is proud to be known as “a vibrant, desirable hub for cosmopolitan living.” It’s not by accident, either. As one of the first planned cities, and as a city actively focused on inclusion and integration since the 1950s, they’ve earned the reputation – and their top-notch school system is an integral piece of that.

Shaker Heights City School District is one of just eight public districts in the nation to be recognized as a PreK-12 International Baccalaureate Continuum District. Meaning they provide the rigorous, internationally recognized and globally focused curriculum of the IB Programme to their 5,000+ students across all grade levels.

Another thing they provide for those 5,000+ students? Chromebooks. As they’ve transitioned to a predominantly 1:1 tech ratio over the past few years, they’ve approached their mobile device deployment with the same careful planning their whole community is known for:

  • All Shaker Heights teachers went through the training, practice and exams to become Level 1 Google Certified Educators.
  • The district’s tech team investigated a range of Chromebook charging solutions – ultimately deciding on centralized smart lockers in common areas.
  • They tested various locations throughout their middle school and high school to determine where the lockers would get the most use and least opportunity for student shenanigans.
  • They did their homework, so to speak.

Challenge

No one planned for a global pandemic. Not even Shaker Heights.

Solution

They adapted. Worldwide, COVID-19 rushed school districts into remote learning. Thankfully for Shaker Heights, they had set themselves up with agile technology that made it a fairly smooth transition. Equipped with six FUYL Tower™ Intelligent Asset Management Systems® by LocknCharge, the District’s tech team developed a safe, self-service drop-off and pick-up procedure for any student Chromebook repairs and replacement parts needed during the extended school closure.

Though originally purchased as a solution for public charging on demand, the FUYL Towers allowed for a seamless pivot into the break/fix functionality the District needed. Technical Services Coordinator, Casey Ailiff, said the Towers have absolutely been a worthwhile investment.

“I don’t see any other feasible or streamlined way that we could do the same kind of repair that we’re doing now [without the FUYL Towers]. I think it’d be a lot more cumbersome on school staff, on my staff, and on our parents and students,” said Ailiff. His team has heard nothing but positive feedback from parents, too.

What’s Next?

With such a refreshingly quick turnaround and well-received process, Shaker Heights City School District is feeling fortunate to have FUYL Towers integrated into their ever-evolving workflows. They’ve quickly witnessed firsthand what the smart lockers can do to help lighten their IT workload, and may very well revamp the way they use their fleet, post-pandemic. A new cloud update set to release this month should ease their operations a little further still – letting the account admins use one centralized portal to remotely manage all six towers.

In such a tumultuous time for schools, it is more valuable than ever to have technology that not only works for you today, but also is ready to evolve with you. LocknCharge products are backed by a lifetime warranty, solid customer support and a lot of good listeners – who turn customer feedback into actionable improvements.

No goods or services were exchanged in response for this statement.

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The Essential Swiss-Army-knife-like cart for Mobile Deployments

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Background

Seine-et-Yvelines Numérique has a relatively short history. Originally attached solely to the County of Yvelines when it was first established in 2016, the Open Mixed Syndicate (“Syndicat Mixte Ouvert” - SMO) became known as Seine-et-Yvelines Numérique in January 2020 with the membership of the county of Hauts-De-Seine.

They’ve managed to do a lot in a short amount of time. Seine-et-Yvelines Numérique was created to organise the deployment of Very High Speed internet (THD) and develop digital services throughout the territory – including electronic security, IT and telecom solutions and digital education. They are currently managing technology for 116 colleges (students ages 11-15) in the Yvelines and are also responsible for the various municipalities that can subscribe to their educational offerings.

Ultimately, Seine-et-Yvelines Numérique wants students to use digital technology its fullest potential. This takes solid support from teachers and reliable device charging and security.

Challenge

Seine-et-Yvelines Numérique supports education players at all levels of technology: access to THD, turnkey hardware and software solutions, teacher technical training, and facilitation of educational projects. Each year, the colleges are asked to make calls for educational projects, which allow them access to additional digital equipment. Through these calls, Seine-et-Yvelines Numérique has seen the demand for mobile tablet classes rise dramatically.

With 16,000 iPads deployed in total (amongst which 4,400 iPads are deployed in carts as “mobile classrooms” ) throughout 96 colleges, Seine-et-Yvelines Numérique manages devices for a wide variety of uses: security when not in use, charging without degrading the batteries, and easily transporting devices up and down stairs and across college campuses that may be spread out over several buildings.

Solution

Seine-et-Yvelines Numérique first saw LocknCharge products at the Bett Education Technology Show and knew immediately that the Carrier™ Charging Carts were the right fit for their teachers. The heavy-duty, fully welded steel Carts would secure 20, 30 or 40 mobile devices, and with the option to use Baskets by LocknCharge inside the Carts, the colleges are given ultimate flexibility with their device deployments.

The SMO purchased hundreds of Carrier Carts to use throughout the county colleges. As Seine-et-Yvelines Numérique’s Mobility Project Manager, Patrick Mazars, put it,

“The complexity of deploying the devices is no longer an obstacle to using these devices.”

He explained that teachers are impressed with the carts because of their Swiss-Army-knife-like versatility. Whether sharing 30 iPads between classrooms or grabbing a Basket of 5, they are equipped to do it quickly and safely.

Another notable feature of the Carrier Carts is the ECO Safe Charge™ Power Management System, built to handle power requirements of almost any device by staging the availability of power. The system also ensures that devices are not overcharged, increasing their longevity.

Patrick Mazars and his team compared all other carts available on the market, and LocknCharge came out on top to best fit the requirements of the customer. Even after in-depth research, they were pleasantly surprised to discover another advantage when the Carts arrived–how easy they were to plug and unplug.

“It’s very simple, it’s effective,” Patrick Mazars said.

Effectiveness is important to Seine-et-Yvelines Numérique. They’ve taken careful, calculated action to make sure their colleges and municipalities maximie the use of their digital technology. They’re not deploying equipment recklessly without thought or training, but rather little by little with proper support.

What’s Next?

As more and more teachers witness the ease in which their colleagues are adopting and deploying mobile technology into the classrooms with the help of LocknCharge solutions, more and more teachers are utilising and requesting them. The charging and storage solutions have become a well-known and necessary component to the full mobile device package. Even municipalities are convinced that you can’t have one without the other.

Seine-et-Yvelines Numérique plans to add more Carrier 20, 30 and 40 Carts, iQ 10 and Putnam 16 Charging Stations, and FUYL Towers in the near term.

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How TAFE SA’s Virtual Reality Program is Revolutionising Education

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Background

TAFE SA is South Australia’s largest vocational education and training provider with over 70,000 enrolled students and 34 campuses TAFE SA is currently teaching over 29 trades at their Tonsley campus and is one of the leaders in Australia for its trade department.

TAFE SA recently deployed 30 Lenovo Mirage VR headsets to aid education for their Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Servicing Courses. Students have a 1:1 approach with the headsets that allows them to explore and experience high risk areas they would not ordinarily see as apprentices. TAFE SA has also mapped out the entire Tonsley Campus and will be engaging with further software enhancements to allow a freer flowing experience between VR and reality. This will be a huge benefit for current and potential students who have not had the chance to physically tour the campus.

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Challenge

At the outset of the project the organisation had no formal mobile device program. As they began planning their device deployment workflow, storage of the VR headsets was an immediate concern. Initially, they attached the devices to a mobile tool trolley; however, they quickly realised the importance of charging and mobility to meet their needs. Because the headsets would travel to different campuses, secure transportation was key to meeting the high demand for training across the state.

Solution

TAFE SA originally enquired about the Revolution 16 Cart and Carrier 30 Cart, ultimately choosing the Carrier 30 Cart because of its durability, portability, and open-concept design. By removing all but one of the device Baskets, it’s possible to charge, store, secure and transport 10 headsets per Cart, with one Large Basket to house all of the accessories for those 10 devices.

Quality is a top priority for TAFE SA, which is apparent by their state-of-the-art facilities and their diligence in planning and deploying the VR headsets. This is just one of the reasons TAFE SA chose PC Locs as their storage and charging supplier for their VR headsets.

VR in Education

VR is a new and expanding technology in education. According to TAFE SA; anecdotal evidence suggests that the use of VR in the classroom increases a student’s ability to retain information by 60-70%. VR technology also allows students training in hazardous jobs to perform tasks without exposure to hazardous high-risk environments. Furthermore, mobility of technology provides accessibility to world-class facilities and training for remote students without the burden of travelling or relocating.

TAFE SA’s hands-on approach with VR technology is also transferable to rehabilitation clinics, other education providers, and the workplace. VR is transforming education, and it’s only a matter of time before pilot trials such as the one at TAFE SA will begin to trickle into different sectors.

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