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Probably not in the fullest sense– but in this article we will go over the general concept of anti-ligature and why it is so important in the UK, and how to address the question of canopies or covered walkways in these situations.
What does Anti-ligature Mean?
In a simple way, it refers to a product that is not easy to tie something to it. The term has arisen particularly in hospitals for caring for mentally ill people, where the danger of self-harm is very real. The number of suicides by hanging has prompted the trusts and anyone to do with these areas to look for ways to remove any potential point for attaching a cord. Generally, the solutions fall into two categories: static anti-ligature (where the shape is such that it is very difficult to tie something to it) and load-release anti-ligature (where the object collapses if you put too much load on it).
When Might Anti-ligature Canopies be Called For?
The areas in which anti-ligature products generally are looked for has expanded from just mental hospitals to many different types of hospital, clinic, special schools and a variety of different public buildings and care homes. It could also include domestic buildings that have been adapted by care providers. As canopies, or covered walkways are frequently installed in hospitals and schools, the request for anti-ligature canopies does arise.
Why True Anti-ligature Canopies Do Not Exist (yet)
As mentioned above, anti-ligature products will either be free from places to tie to, or will collapse under the weight of a person. Of course, this second solution would be no good for an anti-ligature canopy, given the weight of the structure and the need for it to withstand strong wind. Making a canopy completely free of ligature points is practically impossible too, but a number of changes to the design will help to reduce the risk. Fixings, for example, can be a tamper proof type. A design with no horizontal cross bars will also help. Gutter brackets on a canopy would be a ligature point, so a canopy with integral gutters will avoid this hazard.
With years of experience working in the mental health sector, Kensington’s Spaceshade canopy systems can be designed and installed in a manner that greatly reduces the risk of ligature, even if it is not fully anti-ligature in the truest sense. Contact us today to discuss your requirements, or download a brochure.