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Your Obligation for Installing & Maintaining Anti-Ligature Products

Manufacturers of anti-ligature load release systems state that their products must be installed by properly trained and accredited personnel to ensure they are fitted correctly so as not to fail or cause accidental harm.

This article will outline your responsibilities for installing and maintaining anti-ligature systems in your environments. Here is what we will cover:

Who's Accountable for Installing and Maintaining of Anti-Ligature Products?

What Actions Need to be taken with Your Anti-Ligature Products to Achieve Compliance?

Who's Accountable for Installing and Maintaining of your Anti-Ligature Products?

Every Mental Health Provider is accountable for providing anti-ligature products and safety products to ensure their environments are kept safe from possible ligature issues. This includes the installation and maintenance of shading and privacy products along with bathroom accessories. The Never Events List states:

Failure to install functional collapsible shower or curtain rails

Involves either:​

  • failure of collapsible curtain or shower rails to collapse when an inpatient attempts or completes a suicide

  • failure to install collapsible rails and an inpatient attempts or completes a suicide using non-collapsible rails.

Setting: All settings providing NHS-funded mental health inpatient care.

Manufacturers of these products such as Silent Gliss and Yewdale state that their systems should be installed by approved installers. They also point out that failure to do so could jeopardise the system resulting in self-harm or potential death.

It is just as important to have the products regularly checked and tested as it is to have them installed correctly. The HTM66 states

Low Weight Release Systems

  • Once installed, ensure regular maintenance checks and load tests are carried out according to manufacturers’ instructions

Whilst an NHS Safety Notice states

NHS Safety Notice published 11th January 2002 SN(01)01

  • In adult psychiatric setting, any cubicle track, curtain track, shower track and wardrobe rails with load release support systems must be maintained in accordance with manufacturers’ instructions and subject to an annual safety load test to ensure that the device functions correctly.

Manufacturers are clear in their training and literature stating that anti-ligature, safety and load release products all need to be meticulously inspected and load tested on an annual basis.

Before you decide which Anti-Ligature system you want to work with, you should carry out a risk assessment to determine what system is most applicable for you. This will help you establish which areas of your buildings will benefit from the relevant systems on the market. As the responsible person or a person with significant control, you are finally responsible for making this decision and there are specific actions you need to take to make sure you meet the mandatory requirements and obligations. We'll cover what these are in the next section.

What Actions Need to be taken with Your Anti-Ligature Products to Achieve Compliance?

Once you’ve established which type of anti-ligature products are needed and where they are to go, you can then work with the relevant approved installers to ensure they are fitted correctly and signed off in accordance with manufacturers' requirements.

It is your responsibility to ensure that the O&Ms are fully understood and steps are put in place to make certain that the regular checks and tests required are put in place. It is very important to understand that some companies are approved to install certain systems but that they cannot carry out the annual maintenance and tests due to a policy from the manufacturers.

Some Mental Healthcare Providers prefer to not use their every day installers for testing and only work with independent test companies that can give an unbiased audit as well as focusing on what they specialise in. There are many ways of reporting on the annual tests and checks but nothing is quite as simple and easy to manage than access to a portal and software that gives you full visibility and status of all your assets/products within your buildings. By using software, you can centrally control and manage your obligations and responsibilities whilst working with the approved testing company to carry out the actual physical inspections and load testing.

If you are unsure, then please ask!

Why not contact one of our consultants today at Protects Plus. We are on hand to help answer questions relating to all of the above and much more. We specialise in compliance and asset managements using our purpose-built software to ensure evidence-based reporting and peace of mind for all.

Email: or Call: +44(0)345 646 0955

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