Thousands of forecourts race to install hand-protection in battle against Covid-19

In the last week alone, over a thousand forecourts globally have taken a small Devon-based business up on its offer of providing hand-protection dispensers free to protect their customers from the transmission of Covid-19 at the fuel pump.

GripHero, the brainchild of inventor Oli Yeo, is an award-winning patented hand-protection dispenser, which sits on top of each and every hand-pump on the forecourt, so that the very first thing the customer touches is the hand-protection itself. This prevents customers from coming into contact with the fuel pump handle where Covid-19 could easily be passed from one driver to another.

Following the outbreak COVID-19 and its designation as a global pandemic, GripHero took the bold step of offering its dispensers free of charge to help stop the spread of COVID-19 at the fuel pump, and the response to the offer has been overwhelming.

At a potential cost of up to £3 million to the business in up-front costs for the UK market alone, Oli Yeo decided that the only right thing to do was to provide the dispensers free of charge, as they are the only ones in the world permitted within the refuelling zone due to their use of ATEX-Certified anti-static materials. All other hand-protection has to be stored away from the fuel pumps as they are susceptible to static charges.

Commenting on the incredible response and demand for GripHero’s hand-protection dispensers, Oli Yeo said: ‘In the last week alone, we’ve received enquiries and orders from operators with over 1,000 forecourts internationally.

“They know full-well that when drivers cough or sneeze, small droplets of mucus are spread onto the steering wheel and their hands. If the driver were to have Covid-19, that could be easily be passed on to other users via fuel pump handles. These are hard plastic and metal surfaces where Covid-19 can survive for upwards of 24 hours. In that time hundreds of hands could pick up and pass on the virus, which is why it’s essential for all drivers to use hand-protection at the fuel pump, every single time.” Oli Yeo added: “This is a big issue for motorists. Nobody washes their hands before picking up the fuel pump, and it’s totally impractical for drivers to wash their hands before getting back in the car and driving off. The trouble is, everybody touches their face when they drive. You can’t help it.”

“The only way to address this by having hand-protection on each and every fuel pump and bay. This avoids the all too frequent experience of finding empty hand-protection packets on forecourts.”

“Our commitment is to continue providing our dispensers free of charge for the time being, making this a non-profit exercise that will enable forecourts to protect their customers”.

Independent research commissioned by GripHero, shows that over 80% of drivers regularly fill up without using hand-protection because they can’t find gloves, or because standard dispensers are empty.* Fitting GripHero hand-protection at every refuelling bay, and in particular on each fuel pump nozzle, helps put a stop to this problem.

Westmorland Ltd, an operator of multi-award-winning motorway service stations across the country, including Gloucester Services, is one of the groups that has adopted GripHero in the last week, providing protection against the transmission of Covid-19 across their network.

Andy Smith, Group Fuels Manager for Westmorland Ltd explains: “It is more important than ever before to protect our customers in the best way we possibly can. By offering GripHero, Westmorland Ltd is playing its part in the battle against coronavirus, and is dramatically reducing wastage that other glove dispensers produce. We’re also eliminating the static-risks for our customers in the fuelling zone.”

Before GripHero’s patented products came to market, the factor preventing hand-protection being dispensed in the fuel zone was the possibility of ignition caused by a static charge released when a glove or item of hand-protection was withdrawn from a pack. As a result, all conventional hand-protection has had to be dispensed away from the fuel pumps themselves.

Through GripHero’s innovative use of ATEX-Certified anti-static hand-protection material, all chance of ignition caused by static has been removed, enabling its dispensers to be placed on the fuel nozzle itself and in the refuelling zone. In addition to fuel nozzle-mounted hand-protection, GripHero is also offering surface-mounted dispensers to forecourts that may be in contracts that could prevent dispensers from being fitted to their fuel pump handles.

Fitting GripHero’s high-efficiency dispensers – which dispense on one item of hand-protection at a time - prevents clumps of gloves being taken, increasing capacity, preventing unnecessary waste and putting an end to hand-protection shortages. It also stops clumps of gloves being stuffed back into traditional dispensers on bins and pillars, which could further lead to the transmission of Covid-19 when the next driver withdraws a glove already touched by previous motorists.

Oli Yeo added: “The realisation that gloves are clumping has led a number of petrol stations with conventional dispensers to man their pumps, with staff handing out individual gloves to motorists, and refusing to authorize the pump unless drivers are wearing protection.

“That’s great dedication to the safety customers by those forecourts, but it’s simply unsustainable. That’s where GripHero steps in, and it’s part of the reason why we’re offering our dispensers free.

“The global fuel industry has changed overnight. Demand for hand-protection at the fuel pump has hit an all-time high, as drivers look to protect themselves. That means it’s vitally important to dispense protection efficiently to avoid running out of protection at the pump, and to prevent wastage of plastic, adding to forecourt’s already high carbon-footprint.

We hope to help all forecourts in the UK. Working at current production capacity, we could equip every petrol station in the UK within 6 months.“

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