Singapore, 25 May 2020 – KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH), Singapore’s largest academic medical centre specialising in women’s and children’s health, is piloting an automated cleaning and sterilisation system and its technology to enhance the cleanliness of frequently-touched escalator handrails.

KKH experiences high traffic among patients, visitors and staff on a daily basis, and many commonly-touched surfaces in the hospital are disinfected frequently. As the COVID-19 situation rapidly evolves in Singapore, KKH has increased the frequency of the cleaning and disinfecting of high-contact areas. One such area is the escalator handrails, the cleaning regimen has increased three-fold from twice a day to some six times on a daily basis.

Despite the best efforts at maintaining the cleanliness of the escalator handrails, it has been observed that patients, visitors and staff have, likely due to concerns over possible viral remnants on escalator handrails, avoided holding onto the handrails. This is not the recommended safe use of escalators.

Mr Alson Goh, Chief Operating Officer, KKH and SingHealth (Environmental Services), said, “At KKH, we are committed to creating a safe and healthy environment for our patients, visitors and staff. Hence it is important for our environment including our escalators to remain safe and clean. We hope that through this pilot, the disinfection of the escalators’ handrails will be automated and continuous, thereby enabling our patients, visitors and staff to use the escalators more confidently and safely, especially during this COVID-19 period where there may be fears on touching frequently-touched surfaces.”

The automated cleaning and sterilisation system eliminates viruses through the use of both ultraviolet light and spraying and cleaning with disinfectants. It also utilises a technology that enables remote maintenance.

A wider use of such an automated system will potentially allow KKH to redeploy valuable and limited manpower resources responsible for cleaning the escalator handrails, to the cleaning of other high-contact areas that cannot be automated.