T-Safe In Focus

Backsplash Contamination

In this T-safe In Focus story, we explore the critical aspect of "Backsplash Contamination" within the design of hand wash basins. We also examine its implications for installing point-of-use filters, offering valuable insights into selecting the right filter for the right outlet. This selection process is essential in amplifying the effectiveness of filters in infection prevention and control.

What is Backsplash Contamination?

Backsplash contamination refers to the potential spread of harmful microorganisms through the dispersion of water droplets during the use of hand wash stations. This can lead to the contamination of nearby surfaces, including areas designated for the preparation of sterile medical pharmaceuticals, medical equipment, and neonatal bathing zones, with pathogenic microorganisms. Research has even demonstrated that patients can be directly impacted by water droplets that travel distances of up to 2 meters or more from the basin.

Consequently, backsplash contamination poses a substantial risk to infection prevention and control. It serves as a recognized pathway for the transmission of antibiotic-resistant strains like Pseudomonas, which can originate from the flow of water and drainage systems in the basin.


Backsplash Contamination and the role of Point-of-Use Filters

It is essential for handwash stations to be designed with measures to minimize the risk of splashing and the subsequent dispersion of contaminated water. Moreover, proper controls should be implemented. The design process should also take into careful consideration the implications of installing point-of-use filters and how they interact with anti-splash measures.

The installation of a point-of-use filter inherently changes the dynamics of how a handwash station is used. Regrettably, this aspect is often overlooked during the design phase, potentially leading to situations where filter installation compromises the intended backsplash mitigation controls. Even more concerning, it can result in an increased likelihood of retrograde contamination of the filter, thereby elevating the risk of patient infection.

Anti-splash features

Shark fin basins are intended to reduce the impact of splashing from water delivered from the tap outlet. Incompatible point-of-use filters using an off-set installation can direct the water flow away from the shark fin, thus increasing the risk of backsplash contamination.

Vertical drains

Although not desirable, basins with vertical drains exist in healthcare settings. Incompatible point-of-use filters may result in water being delivered directly into the drain, resulting in retrograde contamination of the filter and wider dispersal from the backsplash.

Shallow basins

Point-of-use filters can exacerbate the impact of back splashing in poorly designed shallow basins, particularly where the activity space is severely impeded.

Spray Flow

Some point-of-use filters utilise a spray flow outlet that can increase the risk of back splashing.

The T-safe Solution

At T-safe, we understand the challenges, complexities, and nuances involved with preventing waterborne pathogen infection in high-risk healthcare environments. It is important to consider the relationship between tap and basin installations, infection control processes, and end-user behaviour when designing point-of-use filters. This is of particular importance when considering pathogens such as Pseudomonas, which can be transmitted to patients directly or indirectly through splashing, hand contact, and poor hygiene practices.

The matter is made more complicated given the wide range of different tap and basin installations used in healthcare environments that can result in compatibility issues with point-of-use filters. These compatibility challenges can result in the efficacy of the filter being compromised, a reduction in the usability of the outlet, and impact designed infection controls, such as anti-backsplash measures.

Therefore, a one-size-fits-all approach is not practical when it comes to selecting a suitable point-of-use filter. It highlights the importance of choosing the right filter for the right outlet to optimise the efficacy of waterborne infection prevention and control.

Shark fin basins

The Medical Tap Filter Fixed Position has been specifically designed to work seamlessly with the shark fin feature, ensuring that water is delivered perpendicular to the outlet to optimise the benefit of the anti-splash feature.


Vertical drains

The unique design of the Medical Tap Filter Side Mount enables the water delivery point to be positioned away from the vertical drain siphon, by utilising the adjustable swivel outlet feature.


Shallow basins

The unique design of the Medical Tap Filter Side Mount helps maintain the air gap and minimise the impact on the activity space and backsplash, enabling effective hand washing for end users.


Anti-splash water delivery

T-safe Medical Tap Filters are designed to minimise back splashing, utilising both laminar flow outlet and constant flow technology.


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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