A study of door handles and push plates in 2 hospital intensive care units showed significant correlation between the frequency of movements through the door and the degree to which it was contaminated (p = <0.01). The study showed that the door’s location, design and mode of use all influenced contamination. When compared to push plate designs, pull handles revealed on average a five fold higher level of contamination; lever handles, however, displayed the highest levels of bacterial contamination when adjusted for frequency of use. The authors concluded that, whilst door handle design may appear trivial at the design stage of a building, and largely ignored, it is one of many ‘‘trivial’’ design features that might silently undermine microbial transmission control.
The study can be found at: PLoS ONE 2012; 7(10): e40171. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0040171