Fabric vs. Steel: Debunking the Myth About Germs in Your Dispatch Center

Posted by A Previous Xybix Employee on Jul 24, 2014 12:16:00 PM



Dustmites. Influenza. Common cold. Montezuma’s Revenge (OK, maybe that one’s a little dramatic). If you’ve ever been inside a dispatch center or spoken with dispatchers, you know one of their biggest complaints is that they work in a "petri dish". And in some ways, they do. The reality is that anywhere you find groups of humans working, eating and sneezing, you’ll find extra supplies of germs, viruses and more.

So how can Comm Center Managers combat the swarm of bacteria that constantly invade office environments? Believe it or not, outfitting your dispatch center with certain workstation materials can play an essential role in keeping these pesky goobers at bay.

Fabric vs. Steel?

We often hear that steel clearly acts as a better “deterrent” for germs, because it has no absorbent qualities. Makes sense, right? Wrong! This is one myth that we can clearly classify as “debunked”!


Germs generally remain active longer on stainless steel, plastic and similar hard surfaces than on fabric and other soft surfaces"  - Dr. James Steckelberg, M.D., Mayo Clinic

Fabric is not just a great shield for germs — it also boasts significantly better acoustical absorption properties. The Noise Reduction Coefficient (NRC) is defined by Wikipedia as a “scalar representation of the amount of sound energy absorbed upon striking a particular surface.” An NRC of 0 indicates perfect reflection; an NRC of 1 indicates perfect absorption.

Xybix provides fabric panels with an NRC between .55–.75, meaning that 55–75% of all noise hitting the panels is absorbed. Unfortunately, steel’s NRC rating is 0–.1 at best. Yes, that means that only about 1% of noise hitting the surface is absorbed. The rest is deflected back into the environment. (Who would want to work 12–14 hours a day in a tin can, anyway?)

Hey, It’s OK to Be a Germaphobe

For added protection from the unrelenting flow of bacteria and germs that enter your dispatch center on a daily basis, consider outfitting your workstations with antimicrobial products. For example, Xybix offers laminate surfaces that have been treated with high-efficiency antimicrobial agents to stop germs in their tracks. We also offer an airborne germ eliminator — a unique air filtration device equipped with a UV-C light (similar to the technology that’s used in hospitals) that kills bacteria and viruses on contact. One — or both! — of these products can help guarantee that your dispatch workers are healthier and happier, especially as we move into Fall and Cold/Flu Season.

As always, due diligence is the best way to fight common problems in any work environment, so always do your research on any new product you bring into the workplace!

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Topics: Employee Health, Features, Cleaning & Sanitation