With the colder weather setting in and flu season approaching it's time to look at preventing the spread of germs that often take over a workplace. An often overlooked source of germs is your computer keyboard.
Recent studies show that the average office keyboard is five times dirtier than a toilet seat with a disturbing 3,295 microbes per square inch.
Most people rely on sprays or wipes to disinfect their keyboards but they can prove ineffective at completely eliminating all germs.
The worst culprits at contaminating people are computer keyboards with shared users. Keyboards in hospitals, doctor's offices, libraries, internet cafes, schools and call centers, to name just a few, are spreading germs to each different user.
A father and son team from a start-up company, Falcon Innovations in the United Kingdom, might have just the answer in their new Germ Genie. It is designed to eradicate 99 percent of all germs from a keyboard after each user and can sanitize up to 40 times a shift. A comforting prospect when you discover that the keyboard is often the first thing touched after people have touched their mouth or nose.
James and Duncan Louttit will have their device introduced at the Total Workplace Management Show on October 6-7 and the Hospital Infection Society Conference on October 11-13.
The Biodet Laboratory at the University of Hertfordshire recently put the Germ Genie through its paces to test its ability to completely eliminate the germs present on keyboards. The results confirmed that it was successful at killing 99 percent of all germs on the majority of the keyboard after two minutes and the entire keyboard in ten minutes.
The Germ Genie was able to kill germs responsible for E-coli, Staphylococcus Aureus and Bacillus Subtillis as well as MRSA, the common cold and flu germs.
It sits elevated above a PC keyboard and does not infringe in the use of the keys or require the user to do anything once placed there.
The Germ Genie senses finger movements on a keyboard and once the keyboard has been inactive for one minute it automatically triggers an ultra violet light to sanitize the area. It uses the same method as water purification systems.
“We were very pleased to work with the University of Hertfordshire. They have been very responsive in answering the question 'does the Germ Genie work?' and bringing a scientific rigor to the testing. We expected the results to be good, but is invaluable to us to be able to demonstrate a 99 percent kill across the keyboard,” said James Louttit, Managing Director of Falcon Innovations.
The device currently retails for £140 in the United Kingdom, but with plans to make it available worldwide.
Certainly a must-have for the busy office this flu season. Maybe next they'll be able to get rid of the pesky germs on that busy office phone!