GripHero - maker of the world’s only patented hand-protection dispensers permitted for use on fuel pump handles and in the refueling zone - is offering its dispensers free of charge to help stop the spread of COVID-19 at the fuel pump. 

The move follows the global spread of coronavirus hitting countries internationally and news that the World Health Organisation has declared the virus a pandemic.

It will enable UK forecourts to provide hand-protection to customers on every fuel pump handle and refuelling bay, playing a vital role in the battle against COVID-19, which has the ability to survive for over 24 hours on high touchpoint surfaces, including fuel pump handles.

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, according to Oli Yeo, inventor and managing director of Hatherleigh-based GripHero Ltd.

He estimates that each day hundreds of thousands of drivers fill up, bringing them into direct contact with fuel pump handles touched, on average, by 200 different hands each week; a figure that leaps dramatically at busy supermarket and motorway forecourts.

“When drivers cough or sneeze, they spread small droplets of mucus onto the steering wheel and their hands, which can easily be passed on to thousands of other users via fuel pump handles," he said.

“Given this fact, the forecourt sector has a very real responsibility to protect its customers, minimising the potential for the contraction of coronavirus at the pump, while motorists should be encouraged to wear hand-protection each and every time they refuel.

“Fitting GripHero’s anti-static dispenser on each and every fuel pump handle and on all bays enables drivers to instantly find, withdraw and wear hand-protection without first coming into contact with a surface touched by hundreds of other drivers. Our commitment is to provide our dispensers - which can be easily self-installed - free of charge for a limited time, making this a non-profit exercise to aid forecourts with its implementation.”

Commenting on the huge growth in demand for GripHero in recent weeks, Oli Yeo added: “We have seen a surge in international demand since the outbreak of COVID-19, as networks recognise their health and safety responsibilities. Only yesterday, we confirmed multiple consignments of GripHero for international forecourt networks who are taking steps to protect drivers from the possibility of contracting COVID-19 at the pump. Through our dispensers, we hope to become part of the international solution, encouraging best-practice that will help stop the spread of coronavirus via forecourts globally.”

Oli Yeo added: “Based on current manufacturing rates, we estimate that GripHero hand-protection could be on each and every fuel bay in the country within 6 months. If Government were to stipulate that all forecourts must have hand-protection available at all times, this timeframe could be significantly shortened, but that would require further investment in manufacturing.”

Fitting GripHero’s high-efficiency dispensers prevents clumps of gloves being taken, increases capacity, prevents unnecessary waste and puts an end to hand-protection shortages. Forecourts installing GripHero will need to purchase GripHero’s multi-award winning, ATEX Certified antistatic hand-protection.

Before GripHero 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 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.