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What can Raymond ‘Red’ Reddington teach us about seatbelts and antimicrobial ironmongery?

Contractors, maintenance companies, installers, door manufacturers and specifiers should pay close attention to ‘The Blacklist’

James Spader as the character Raymond Red Reddington in the Blacklist TV show, against a red background, he wears a shirt and tie and a top hat
©IMDB 2023 – James Spader as Raymond ‘Red’ Reddington in ‘The Blacklist’

James Spader often plays complex and challenging characters, whether it’s Lawyer Alan Shore in Boston Legal, or in the last decade, Raymond ‘Red’ Reddington in ‘The Blacklist’.

In every episode he has a cautionary tale to tell, or piece of hard-won wisdom and somehow, we are compelled despite his morally ambiguous nature. Of course, we have the screenplay writer to thank, but it is also about Spader’s peerless delivery of the line.

One that has struck such a chord was in season four, episode two called ‘Mato’ (a character that comes to a sticky end) “Regret requires age or wisdom”

It would be entirely possible to write a PhD thesis on these five simple words, such depth of meaning delivered in the fewest possible syllables. Genius. As we get older, we tend to be more careful about drinking too much alcohol because we know what a hangover feels like.

It is a saying worthy of Aristotle – in fact the great man said something in a related vein –“The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet”

They are both about learning the hard way and the realisation that we all need to think about the way we live, act and work. We might not be able to avoid regret altogether, but we can pay close attention to our choices and actions.

It is a feature of aging that we look back on our decisions and their consequences. It is also hard to be wise when inexperienced, so we seek mentors, advice, and wisdom.

Other lessons are learned the hard way by those unfortunate enough to not follow sound advice. Wearing a seatbelt is such an example. We all know the sense behind that choice, regardless of the law.

It is wisdom to foresee the logic of simple choices that may seem irrelevant in the short term but pay major dividends over time. Pensions are a perfect example. It is hard to adequately explain to a 20-year-old about the enormous benefits of pension contributions at an early age – but try we must, even if it means explaining the nature of compound interest over long time periods. The UK Government even changed the law so that people have top opt out rather than opt into pension schemes.

But what has this to do with antimicrobial ironmongery?

Because it is a wise and sensible investment in the lives and wellbeing of people who work in public buildings.

Every year vast sums are lost in businesses across the country due to sickness absences leave and the accompanying loss of productivity. This is not to mention the pressure on staff and management.

It is estimated that in 2021 the cost of absences due to sickness in the UK was £20.6bn.

‘For small businesses and SMEs sickness can be a huge issue, and with businesses already struggling, the cost to them in additional sick days is likely to cause more stress by further stretching budgets during a time where the costs of running a business are already significantly higher for many than they were last year.’
John Atkinson, Head of Commercial Business at Novuna Business Cash Flow

Some of this was due to COVID-19, but the figures for previous years are still huge in 2010 it was at a similar absence rate level of 2.2%. Even the fittest and healthiest under 50-year-olds are susceptible–those least at risk from infectious diseases such as seasonal influenza and bad colds. It is sensible of course for people to avoid infecting others wherever possible. But many ‘soldier on’ and come to work sneezing and coughing. Research shows that in 40–90% cases, adults infected with rhinovirus (the cause of the common cold) have it on their hands.

And herein lies the problem. Infection such as influenza and rhinoviruses to a greater or lesser extent are transmitted through Fomites – any inanimate object that, when contaminated with or exposed to infectious agents (such as pathogenic bacteria, viruses, or fungi), can transfer disease to a new host. (Also, other highly unpleasant examples such as hand-foot-mouth disease, cold sores and – sorry about this – diarrhoea).

A Mintel survey found that only 72% of males aged 16-34 think it’s important to wash their hands after coughing, sneezing, or blowing their nose, compared to 85% of Brits aged 55 and over.

(Another uncomfortable finding is that whilst almost all (98%) of Brits aged 55 and over believe washing hands after using the toilet is important, this figure falls just 85% of men aged 16-34).

When we are young, we feel immortal and invincible, but the same cannot be said for older generations who have had numerous bouts of illnesses that they wish to avoid. Especially those with health challenges and resistance to opportunistic infections to whom it can be far more than is unpleasant. The human and monetary cost is considerable.

An ill older man with white hair clutches his hand to his head, and holds a tissue to his mouth. He lies down on a pillow and is covered in a blanket.
For older generations, bouts of illness can be far more than unpleasant

We all know that burning feeling when we feel the flu or a cold developing. Age and wisdom tells us what to expect, despite our best efforts to avoid these horrible pathogens.

But there is a simple, low-cost solution to the problem.

It is the areas we touch the most that can harbour pathogenic organisms due to lack of hygiene and prevent diseases spread. And that includes those door handles.

The wise choice: antimicrobial Ironmongery specification

Harmful microbes can remain active and replicate on the surfaces of common touch points in public buildings. This includes items such as door handles, push plates, WC indicating bolts, and washroom fittings. When specifying these items for projects in high traffic spaces such as offices, hospitals, and schools, there is a need for a more hygienic approach ­– to reduce opportunities for bacterial growth.

Research has shown that SARS-CoV-2 – the virus that causes Covid-19 remains active on door handles and furniture for more than 72 hours. Many other microbes including E. coli and the MRSA superbug can survive for many hours, days and in some cases even weeks on non-porous surfaces.

Antimicrobial Ironmongery is proven to inhibit the growth of most types of harmful bacteria, including E. coli and MRSA, as well as the SARS-CoV-2 virus, on the treated surfaces of these touch points. The inbuilt surface protection works 24/7 and is effective for the lifetime of the product.

This means that users of your building, whether that be staff, visitors, or other members of the public, can benefit from a more hygienic environment.

Reducing the spread of seasonal viruses, as well as more serious infections, should be a priority – but often gets dismissed because it is assumed to be more expensive (which you’d be surprised to hear is not necessarily the case).


Poole Waite’s Self-Sanitising Antimicrobial Ironmongery Range, proven to be effective against SARS-CoV-2, E. coli, MRSA, and many more harmful bacteria, offers a solution to those who wish to create more hygienic working and living environments.

Performance testing

Products from our Self-Sanitising Antimicrobial Ironmongery Range have been independently tested for efficacy against SARS-CoV-2.

  • The test results show a reduction in SARS-CoV-2 on the surface of >80% after 2 hours when compared to a stainless steel control, when tested to ISO 21702:2019.

This shows our protective coating pro-actively inhibits the growth of SARS-CoV-2 on the treated surface of our ironmongery, making these products more hygienic.

We have had our Matt Black, Matt White and Clear Coat powder coated products independently tested on their antimicrobial performance. Tests for contact times of both 10 minutes and 2 hours were conducted at an ambient temperature (20⁰C – 22⁰C), using MRSA and E. coli bacteria.

  • For MRSA, a reduction of >99.99% was achieved within 10 minutes on all types of plate. This reduction was not increased after 2 hours.

  • For E. coli, a reduction of >99.999% was achieved within 10 minutes on all types of plate. There was no recovery after 2 hours.

The report concluded that the antimicrobial technology will almost entirely reduce the microbial load of most, if not all, bacteria on treated surfaces within a short time of contact.

Poole Waite & Co Ltd is now the only architectural ironmonger in the UK to offer a complete ironmongery range with proven efficacy against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

View the range on our website


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