How ‘talking’ hand sanitiser dispensers are helping the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games boost hygiene confidence for its one million spectators


Innovative hygiene programme led by Dettol Pro Solutions will use methods backed by behavioural science to reinforce good hygiene habits in crowds.

The number one leading hygiene brand in the UK, Dettol, is set to install more than 100 ‘talking’ hand sanitiser dispensers at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games as an innovative way to drive better hygiene behaviours using science-backed protocols at the biggest sporting event held in the UK since the pandemic.

Reckitt, maker of Dettol, was announced in April as the official hygiene partner of the Games. The Dettol Pro Solutions programme has created bespoke hygiene protocols for the benefit of spectators who have come to enjoy the 12-day event. It is anticipated that the dispensers, in tandem with other components of the hygiene protocols designed for the Games will encourage spectators to practise good hand hygiene.

The dispensers have been produced in partnership with SDI Displays Ltd, and feature an eye-catching design to help grab the attention of attendees. The dispenser has a voice activation feature that delivers ‘thank you’ messaging to people as they sanitise their hands and also a counter to show how many times the unit has been used.

Dettol Pro Solutions will distribute more than 100 “talking” hand sanitiser dispensers, over 2,000 posters and 2,800 hand sanitiser dispensers along with hygiene kits and training for staff at the Games to reinforce good hand hygiene habits. Hand hygiene is regarded as one of the most important hygiene measures adopted by people post-pandemic, with 38% out of 14,000 people surveyed agreeing. The team of scientists and microbiologists behind Dettol Pro Solutions leverages the effectiveness of behavioural science for its targeted hygiene protocols to drive better public hygiene behaviours, therefore helping to reduce the spread of bacteria and viruses which may be brought to the event and spread quickly in crowded environments.

Katy Slater, regulatory director for new growth platforms at Reckitt, says: “The ultimate aim of our hygiene protocols for the Games is to ensure commonly touched surfaces and hands are hygienically clean through the event, and to encourage athletes, spectators, volunteers and suppliers to adopt better hygiene behaviour. Those at the Games will know that Dettol’s standard of hygiene has been met, so they can focus on enjoying the incredible sport they’ve travelled from all over the world to see.

“We want good hand hygiene to feel like second nature to anyone partaking in the Games, and for it to feel seamless so that the sport remains front and centre. There are multiple ways that our team and the team from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine – with whom we worked closely whilst developing our protocols – make this happen, and the behavioural science associated with something like talking hand sanitiser dispensers is one of them.

“Personal responsibilities like hand hygiene are critical interventions in helping to reduce the spread of bacteria and viruses, and the time and place that people sanitise or wash their hands is vital too – as our targeted hygiene methodology shows. Research has shown that from one contaminated high-touch surface such as a door handle, viruses could spread to 14 people so it’s important to remind people of hygiene behaviours coming out of the pandemic – especially at a large-scale event like the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. We’ve found that introducing a disruptive cue into an environment – like a voice speaking to you out of a sanitising dispenser – may be able to interrupt habitual neurological patterns to effect and then sustain behaviour change. Making a behaviour as easy as possible to do increases chances of success, hence it’s not enough to just instruct people to wash their hands – it’s more about ensuring they have the opportunity to do so and are reminded, encouraged, motivated or nudged to take action at the most appropriate moments.”

Professor James Logan of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, and CEO of Arctech Innovation, added: “Building on our successful scientific collaboration at COP26 last year, we are proud to have once again partnered with Reckitt to develop a range of robust hygiene interventions and cleaning protocols that will help ensure thousands of athletes, staff and spectators implement good hygiene practices at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games this summer.”

The Games are taking place from 28 July-8 August 2022 at locations across Birmingham and the West Midlands and it is expected that more than a million visitors will come to the city.

Adam Parry
Author: Adam Parry

Adam is the co-founder and editor of Adam, a technology evangelist also organises Event Tech Live, Europe’s only show dedicated to event technology and the Event Technology Awards. Both events take place in November, London.

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