An interesting product came across my desk recently, that is designed to allow hands-free operation of restroom doors. The issue of touchless openings is one that many facility managers are struggling with, and a company in Vancouver, BC has been working on this project since long before anyone had heard of Covid-19. After all, restroom door hardware can be a source of various types of germs, and automatic operators are not feasible for every opening.
One option I’ve seen to address manually-operated doors with latching hardware is the use of lever retrofits that allow levers to be operated with a forearm. You may have seen some of the 3D-printed patterns that have been made available in the last 6 months, but I have some concerns. How durable is that application? Will it damage the finish on the hardware? Does it affect the warranty of the existing lockset? There are potential code issues with the lever retrofits as well…is the hardware still operable with no special knowledge or effort once the adaptor is attached? Can the door be unlatched with one operation and with no tight grasping, pinching, or twisting of the wrist?
While there are existing products available to help reduce contact with doors and hardware, I think there are still plenty of opportunities for innovation (and you know how I love code-compliant creativity!). An alternative to modifying the existing lever on a restroom door is replacing the privacy set with something specifically designed to reduce contact with hands. The Restroom UP LoK is not a retrofit lever adaptor – it’s a replacement privacy set that fits an existing cylindrical lock prep. I’m interested in your constructive feedback on this idea. Below is an installation video that also briefly shows how the privacy set operates. You can find more information about the product on their website – restroomlock.com.
Does this type of operation help to solve the problem of restroom germ transmission?
Have any of you installed this product or seen it in use?
For more information on code requirements that may affect touchless openings, refer to this Decoded article, or watch my webinar – Decoded: Touchless Solutions for Healthy Environments.