Jaga - What are the safety considerations for heating in care & nursing homes?

May 2020

Safety is paramount in all healthcare applications, including residential care accommodation. When selecting from different types of radiators or other heat emitters, factors such as location, surface temperature and the presence of sharp edges all need consideration. Providing a safe environment is part of making residents comfortable, and it’s important to avoid anything in a heating system design that might represent an injury risk.

There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to providing heating in care homes, because the needs of residents vary depending on the nature of the care requirements. Some residents are elderly people with no other care options, while more specific care is needed for vulnerable adults with particular conditions, such as stroke patients, or people with mental health issues, Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia.

The surface temperature of a traditional steel panel radiator can reach as high as 80 deg.C – enough to cause partial burns with a brief touch, or severe burns with prolonged contact.

Guarding can reduce the surface temperature – and reduce the risk of burns should a resident fall against or hold onto the radiator for too long – but it also reduces the efficiency of the heating.

Low surface temperature (LST) radiators are designed to be compliant with NHS DN4 requirements to prevent injury in the event of accidental contact. The casing can also conceal pipework and valves, enhancing the safety of the radiator and providing peace of mind for all parties.

It’s not just the surface temperature of a radiator that can be a risk. Any hard contact with a radiator can cause bodily injury, especially to frail individuals.

For that reason, LST radiators are designed to include rounded corners and chamfered edges. These features minimise potential injuries should unwanted contact or collision occur, and ensures that LST radiators represent a complete safety offering.

On a practical level, radiators need to be positioned within rooms to meet requirements for access. Allowing people to use spaces safely is part of the wide-ranging regulations that aim to make buildings accessible to all.

Examples of situations where clear, unobstructed access should be provided include clear widths in corridors, or clear areas around beds. It is generally recognised that radiators should not reduce the specified dimensions in any given situation, and if one projects too far into a circulation space, then a common provision is for them to be protected by visually contrasting guarding.

Jaga offer a comprehensive range of low surface temperature (LST) radiators with safety features such as chamfered edges and rounded corners. Guardian and Tempo are our most commonly specified LST radiators, particularly well-suited to residential care accommodation.

Unlike providing guarding to a steel panel radiator, the LST radiator casings are designed to aid output rather than reduce it. The range incorporates Jaga’s energy efficient Low-H2O heat exchanger, which uses a fraction of the water of a steel panel radiator and optimises convective airflow, quickly warming the whole room rather than just the space next to the radiator.

Trench heating, meanwhile, features the heating element installed in a duct placed in the floor and covered by a decorative grille that is flush with the floor finish. With a large enough duct, trench heaters can act as the only heating source. While they do offer the same level of control as radiators, the nature of their concealment means they can be considered as a space saving option.

To find out more about how Jaga’s energy efficient heating technology and solutions can benefit your specifications, call 01531 631533 or visit https://www.jaga.co.uk/

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