Anti-Ligature

A range of exclusive anti-ligature products designed to maximise the safety of people by removing the potential of harm where secure care is required.
Our magnetic anti-ligature system provides a highly effective method of saving the lives of service users. It also gives peace of mind to their carers by ruling out the chance of self-harm.

Providing an environment that is conducive towards a peaceful way of life and an area of calm ensures resident users are calmer, happier and easier to manage and care for. Pair this with the peace of mind for the carer community, knowing that all avenues to prevent ligature risks have been researched and the appropriate measures installed. With an ever-increasing host of options available to the health care sector, why should there still be cause for alarm? Many systems on the market cover their product offering with a small print reference to the limitation of a safety product as opposed to a fully anti-ligature solution.
For help when making your next decision, or to check how your current system fares with regards to a fail-safe* industry standard have a quick read through the 5 points listed below. If you would like a non-obligatory, unbiased view of your system from an anti-ligature specialist, please call the anti-ligature support team on +44(0)7501323831.

Can it be jammed?
Any product that involves a male coupling inserting into a female coupling has the potential to jam. Service users have been known to wrap a small amount of toilet paper tissue around a male coupling prior to inserting it carefully back into its female socket. The subsequent action supported enough weight to increase the safe breakaway amount and a ligature opportunity arose. With the magnetic anti-ligature system there are no male and female sockets. Two surfaces instead make up the fail-safe* element of the scheme and cannot be jammed by additional products. The edge of the disk that joins the magnet is chamferred as standard and is difficult to be jammed laterally.

Does the product fail if pulled sideways?

Some systems available in the global market offer similar friction based devices however these are designed to activate a release function when a direct downward motion is created. If the direct motion works in a direction other than straight down, the shape of the male item has been proved to cause the release coupling to jam up rather than release. If your option has the potential to work in this way, you need to be aware that a ligature point can be arrived at by moving the downward force to an angle of less than 90°, commonly known as a sideways jam. The magnetic anti-ligature system works by shortrange magnetic attraction. As with all short-range magnets the slightest movement of the magnetic surface away from the magnet will cancel out the force of the magnetic field and guarantees a release action. This action works with any downward motion regardless of which direction the pressure is applied from.

Do you have to replace parts after it prevents a ligature?
The construction of certain safety systems relies on the shearing of smaller plastic components to ensure the product becomes detached in the event of an increase in the supported weight capacity. The use of couplings that shear means that they have to be replaced before the product can be again used in its previous location. This adds unnecessary inconvenience to the staff in any organisation whilst the product is unavailable to be used, and requires replacement. The magnetic anti-ligature system works solely on the principle of magnetic attraction and uses no breakable parts for this. In the event of an incident occurring, resulting in it becoming detached from its mounting, all that is required is for the item to be held immediately below the magnetic bracket where the magnetic force will raise the item back into position with no wasted downtime suffered.

Will it bring a whole system down?
The strength of any system is often gained by coupling multiple items together to make one complete package. This does not work in your favour however when one part of the system releases due to an increased load being applied. Whilst this will still ensure that the system operates in its ligature-prevention purposes, additional damage and injury can occur due to the ‘domino’ effect of increased pressure being applied to the rest of the system as a result. The magnetic anti-ligature divider curtain track system has been carefully designed to operate as individual tracks in the event of an incident whilst still being able to work together along with other individual tracks when built into a larger package. For more details, call the anti-ligature support team on +44(0)7501323831

Will constant use make it more vulnerable to failure?
The effect of usage of almost any product/system makes it subject to gradual physical deterioration regardless of age, use, and/or weathering. In similar effect the use of friction-based facilities can be subject to ‘wear and tear’ resulting in increased tolerances over time. Although this will not necessarily unduly affect the anti-ligature properties of the application it can result in the system releasing prematurely and causing more problems. In a direct contrast, the philosophy of the magnetic anti-ligature system is based entirely around the principle of the forces of magnetism. Permanent magnets will retain their magnetic properties indefinitely and are not subject to decline, nor the forces of ‘wear and tear’.

Technical & Safety
Research has identified that people are at the greatest risk of death by ligature in areas of mental health hospital environments, and in prison and detention centres. Service users in these areas have a tendency to be overly irrational in their behaviour and hence need an especially high level of care. Ligature points can be formed from a variety of innocuous items commonly found in a room, and so great care needs to be taken when a room is being designed and the anti-ligature items are being specified. Anti-ligature systems are designed to separate from their magnetic brackets when excessive weight is applied. They are easily reattached to keep the system functioning fully. In use as a permanent feature for well over 10 years in many UK psychiatric institutions and prisons, and globally in mental health facilities, the magnetic anti-ligature system lends itself to bespoke requirements of varied environments. As a result, our products are designed as standalone products only. Care should be taken when assessing or arranging a room to ensure that our products cannot be misused in conjunction with any other item, furniture or fixings in the room. It is the responsibility of the end user or client to ensure the product is suitable for the environment it is being installed in. Our products must be fitted by a qualified professional following the manufacturer’s instructions. Failure to do so could jeopardise the product’s effectiveness as an anti-ligature system.

What the term fail-safe means in our literature
The ‘fail-safe’ guarantee is only applicable in an anti-ligature environment where the system cannot be used in conjunction with anything else to create a ligature point. Our systems are guaranteed to safely separate every time excessive weight is applied to the device, but it is the responsibility of the installer and end user to ensure that the anti ligature system cannot be used unsafely afterwards. Yewdale cannot be held responsible for any actions of the user that may result in the creation of a ligature point through misuse of our systems before or after it has separated from its magnetic brackets.
Using the anti-ligature system safely
To ensure the safety of the anti-ligature device, you must follow the below points.
• Only a qualified installer can install these anti-ligature systems. Failure to do so jeopardises the system’s effectiveness.
• Our systems should not be used in conjunction with any other brand of anti-ligature products.
• Our systems only maintain their effectiveness in an anti-ligature environment which is geared towards ensuring the safety of the service user.
• Due to the strong magnets used in our anti-ligature systems should not be placed near sensitive electronic equipment. Keep at least 150mm clearance of the underside of the brackets.
• Any load-release device, by its nature, may cause damage when operated. Be aware that articles suspended from the magnetic anti-ligature system will come down when pulled.
• Always follow the instructions supplied with the system.

Loading figures for standard strength brackets
No part of a installation should be able to withstand a vertically downward force of more than 400 Newtons, which is equivalent to a static load of approximately 40kg. Most readings will be in the region of 15-30kg, depending on configuration and proximity to brackets (20kg per bracket). To cater for situations where a lighter breakaway point is needed, Yewdale has an additional two lower load capacity options available. The medium load capacity breaks away at approximately 17kg per bracket. The low load capacity option breaks away at approximately 13kg per bracket and the magnets are coloured black for easy distinction.

O+M Guidance It is an NHS Estates requirement that items suspended on load-release support systems should be maintained and load-tested in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions on an annual basis. Our system is maintenance free and its performance remains constant even after repeated use. It is advisable, however, to carry out a visual inspection of your anti-ligature fittings to identify any possible damage or evidence of tampering.

Anti-Ligature Load Options There may be some instances where a standard magnet may not have a breakaway point low enough to ensure the safety of service users with lighter body-weights. In situations involving children, adolescents and people with illnesses such as eating disorders, their body weight may not be great enough to easily break a ligature point, and so ours offers low and medium load capacity brackets that separate at much smaller weights. All products will automatically be supplied with our standard load brackets, please specify when ordering if you require the medium or low load brackets. All accompanying disks are chamfered to help prevent jams.
Consideration from installers must be applied to the types of antiligature product being used and how it will be used on a daily basis as lower load brackets may cause it to separate too easily and make it very difficult to use the product for its primary function. Therefore, it is recommended that the pre-load weight of the antiligature product is understood before the brackets are selected for the environment as some anti-ligature devices could have an even further reduced load capacity. For example, anti-ligature curtain tracks may separate too easily if the curtain weight isn’t accounted for.

Risk Assessments Needed All environments need to be risk-assessed by the Trust before installation as our listed load capacities are recommendations and guides and should be tested by the appropriate parties prior to installation. The break points listed can vary and the figures are a result of an average break-point weight found through testing.