It’s hard to believe that I originally wrote this post more than 5 years ago! So many people are asking me about these and other methods for reducing the transmission of germs, that I’ve updated the post with a little more information. I’m re-posting it so it’s easier to find without digging through the archives.
Given the concerns about the transmission of COVID-19, I think we will be seeing hands-free hardware installed more often. Although there are many doors where automatic operators and touchless access control would be a better solution, these products won’t be feasible for every door.
If you have seen other hardware or ideas related to this topic, please leave a comment or send me an email and I’ll check them out.
Someone recently asked me whether a door pull operated by the user’s foot would meet the accessibility requirements. The answer seems obvious, right? How can a pull operated by someone’s foot be used for a door on an accessible route? Those doors have to be operable by everyone, including someone using a wheelchair. The standards specify that hardware must be mounted between 34 inches and 48 inches above the floor, be operable with no tight grasping, tight pinching, or twisting of the wrist, and with no special knowledge or effort (read on!).
While a foot-operated pull doesn’t require tight grasping, pinching, or twisting, it would not meet the intent of the accessibility standards if it was the only means of pulling the door open. BUT…if there was another pull on the door which met the accessibility requirements, I don’t see a code issue with installing a foot-operated pull in addition. These pulls are becoming more common for restroom doors, but I have never seen them installed as the only pull on the door.
You might be thinking, “But what about the requirement for a 10-inch-high area at the bottom of the door where no protrusions are allowed?” That 10-inch flush area is only required on the push side of manual doors. The pull is mounted on the pull side and the projection looks acceptable. It wouldn’t affect the clear opening width, it shouldn’t be an encroachment issue, and by nature it wouldn’t be used on a fire door. While some building occupants may find it difficult to open the door this way, I can’t think of any code-related problems.
Photo and Graphic: StepNpull