T-Safe In Focus

Activity Space: 'Mind the Gap'

In this T-safe In Focus story, we explore the significance of "Activity Space" in the design of hand wash basins. We also examine how this concept influences the installation of point-of-use filters. Within this context, we provide valuable insights on choosing the most suitable filter for each specific outlet. This careful selection process is essential in enhancing the effectiveness of filters as a means of infection prevention and control.

What is Activity Space?

Activity Space is an important concept when considering hand wash basin design, as it can have significant implications for opportunistic waterborne infection prevention and control.

Activity Space can be defined as the available space between the tap outlet and the basin, that allows for the natural movement of hands when performing hand washing. In practical terms this means that basins and taps should be installed with sufficient space to enable effective hand washing without the user touching the tap water outlet, the basin, or the drain – which can harbour high concentrations of pathogenic microorganisms.

Ensuring the provision of adequate activity space is therefore of particular importance in circumstances involving immunocompromised patients in augmented care settings. Here, patients may be more susceptible to infection from pathogens such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa which can be transmitted via hand contact, splashing from contaminated basins or drains and poor hygiene practices.


Activity Space and Point-of-Use Filters

The installation of a point-of-use filter will inevitably have an impact on reducing the available activity space within a basin. Therefore, basins and tap arrangements should be designed with this in mind and consider the requirement to install a point-of-use filter in response to a water safety emergency.

However, this is often not considered at design stage and can result in a scenario where the installation of a filter is compromised due to incompatibility, which may inadvertently increase the risk to patient safety.

The implications of installing a non-compatible tap filter can be significant, the consequences of which may be detrimental to end user safety, infection prevention, and control practices and create a compliance breach.


Implications of incompatibility

The installation of an incompatible filter can reduce the available activity space which may obstruct the use of the outlet, restricting its usability for effective hand washing.

Retrograde Contamination

Where activity space is compromised, this may increase the risk of pathogenic micro-organisms being transferred onto the outer surfaces of the filter through hand contact or back splashing from the basin/ drain.

Air Gap

Where activity space is severely compromised, often in shallow wash hand basins, this can result in a filter sitting below the high-water line, creating the risk of back flow contamination.

The T-safe Solution

The T-safe Medical Tap Filter Side Mount has been specifically designed to overcome the challenges of incompatibility and restriction on activity space associated with conventional filters. Featuring a unique side mount installation arrangement, the body of the filter is raised upwards and away from the hand washing area unlike conventional filters which sit perpendicular to the tap outlet.

This novel solution minimises the impact on the usable activity space and maintains an air gap, which optimises the available space for effective hand washing, whilst reducing the risk of retrograde contamination of the filter from hand contact and back splashing from contaminated drains.

The Right Filter for the Right Outlet

The implications of installing the incorrect filter to an outlet and basin configuration can be significant, the consequences of which may be detrimental to end user safety, impede the operation of the outlet or contravene Water Reg­ulations/ Bye Laws. Ultimately, compatibility of the fil­ter with the outlet and basin is key to ensuring this is avoided.

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