Employers are looking at a range of innovations aimed at making workplaces safe. The big challenges posed by the virus indoors are the collection of particles on surfaces and the flow of air between individuals. Some emerging options are;
- Coronavirus-popping surface coatings. Zoono, NitroPrep and Smart Separations are just a few manufacturers who have virus killing coating products available. These products contain tiny spike-like particles that puncture and kill viruses on contact. The spikes cannot be felt by anyone running their hand across the surface. Enhance is supplying sanitising services using Zoono Microbe Shield.
- Germicidal ultraviolet irradiation. Danish company UVD Robots was the first company to invent robots which travel around buildings emitting UV light leaving bacteria and viruses too damaged to function. However, there are concerns about UV radiation causing skin and eye damage and therefore the robots are programmed to operate only at night when no one is around. Heathrow Airport is using UV sanitising.
- Adding sanitising systems to building ventilation. Some engineers argue that the focus should be on simple upgrades to existing heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. Former Formula One Technical Director Nick Wirth (Wirth Research, Oxford), is developing a system to destroy airborne particles from some of the least ventilated spaces (passenger lifts and aeroplanes). Cool indoor air is circulated out of the space into a “viral furnace” where it is heated to more than 95C to kill any pathogens and then cooled and filtered back in.
- Facial temperature testing. Approximately 30% of people infected by Covid-19 have very minor or no symptoms but are still carriers. Temperature checks are considered the most effective way of detecting possible infection. Stopping anyone with a high temperature from entering the work space removes the threat of infection. There is technology available particularly from Canadian company; Intuitive AI, to carry out facial temperature testing using thermal cameras. Where high temperatures are detected those individuals are not be permitted access.