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  5. Anti-ligature Hand/Crash Rail for New Mental Health Unit

The anti-ligature Acrovyn® HRB-20AL hand/crash rail is currently being fabricated in ABS West’s workshop. 

 Large quantities of the combined handrail / crash rail will be installed in a new mental health unit within one of WA’s largest hospitals. 

The stunning Acrovyn® woodgrain finish on the end caps will also feature on the matching fascia, which will be attached on site during the installation process.

We look forward to publishing images of the finished hand/crash rails following project completion.

Also, watch our informative video (below) to learn more about the issues surrounding anti-ligature fixtures in mental health environments. 


Anti-Ligature in Mental Health Interiors: Video Transcript

Speaker: Digital Project Specialist at ABS West

Hi and welcome another video in our series aimed at anyone involved in the architecture, construction, interior design or building maintenance industries. Today, I’m going to talk about a topic that’s of a more serious nature, and that topic is anti-ligature in the context of mental health.

A ligature point is anywhere that ligature can be fastened, such as a cord or rope or any other material that has the potential to inflict self-harm.  Anyone involved in the design of mental health environments needs to give special consideration to the design and quality of products used for mental health interiors.

Products deemed to be suitable for other healthcare interiors such as general hospitals or aged care, might not be suitable for mental health interiors if the physical designs include points of ligature.

A fixture that exists in almost every healthcare environment in Australia is the obligatory handrail and since this video focuses largely on handrails, I’ll use this standard handrail to demonstrate a potential ligature point.


[speaker demonstrates CS handrail]
Now this is a fairly typical CS handrail.  It is often used in hospitals and aged care settings. It has a timber grabrail, a stainless-steel endcap and a stainless-steel bracket.   As you can see, there are many points that pose ligature danger, but the good thing about CS handrails is that they can be adapted into anti-ligature alternatives, and I’ll cover that later-on in the video.

Ligature resistant products are especially important in areas where mental health patients are left unsupervised, such as in bathrooms or in toilets.  When specifying for mental health projects it’s not just about avoiding obvious ligature danger points as part of their design, it’s also necessary to source robust, high-quality products.  Architects, facility managers and interior designers need to determine if a fixture is robust enough to prevent it from being dismantled easily or forced apart or removed from their fixture points to form a potential weapon or implement of self-harm.  Ultimately, the well-being of patients and staff is paramount in mental health environments so the challenge for specifiers is to source products that combine quality, safety and functionality.


[Camera focuses on AW-LR, an anti-ligature handrail installed in a mental health hospital while speaker explains case study]
Let’s take a look at the AW-LR solid timber handrail.  This is case study published by Construction Specialties in Sydney.  Here we can see a one-piece ligature resistant design attaches straight onto the wall, making it ideal for mental health environments.

CS handrails are one of thee most commonly specified handrails for aged care and hospital environments in Australia. As I already explained, the model I showed you is unsuitable for mental health settings, but many CS handrails can be adapted into anti-ligature models. Let me show you the difference using 3-D models.


[Camera focuses on HRB-20, a standard model handrail, speaker continues…]
Here I’m going to show you the difference between a standard model and its modified version suitable for mental health environments.  First, I’ll show you the standard HRB-20 model, and as you can see, it contains many ligature points.


[Camera focuses on HRB-20AL, an anti-ligature counterpart to HRB-20, speaker continues…]

Its anti-ligature counterpart is HRB-20AL, with AL of course denoting anti-ligature which has a continuous aluminium mounting bracket used to fix and support the handrail, thereby eliminating points of ligature.


In terms of the ubiquitous handrail, ABS West can offer several solutions to forward thinking architects and designers aiming to minimize ligature danger.  The best solution is to specify a product that number 1, eliminates the risk of ligature, number 2, is robust enough to endure the harsh treatment of deliberate attempts to sabotage the fixture, number 3, can perform it’s intended function, and in the case of handrails this means provide reliable pedestrian support and finally, number 4, is a good aesthetic fit for it’s surrounding interior space because, of course, it’s also important to uphold the overall interior design.


If you’ve watched right to the end, thank you for your attention towards this very niche but important design consideration.  If you would like to discover more about the CS range of handrails, you can find plenty product information on our website at www.abswest.com.au or you can contact a member of our sales team who can supply technical data sheets or valuable advice.  Give us a call or drop us an email.  We hope you find our videos informative, and we look forward to covering more topics relating to architectural building solutions in the near future.

Thank you for watching.




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