Contour: Minimising Ligature Risks In PICUs

  • 15 Jun 2021

Due to the vulnerability of individuals in PICUs, furniture, fixtures, and fittings must be optimised to maintain to deliver safety standards. Therefore, architects and specifiers need to seek ways to ensure there is a reduced risk of self-harm and suicide in PICUs, with anti-ligature products to protect all users, explains Contour…

If you’re involved in the design of specification of a PICU, this piece will run through ligature risks that need to be minimised to provide the utmost safety…


Minimising Ligatures To Reduce Harm In High Secure Mental Health Units

Those entering PICUs may be vulnerable and their mental health is often unpredictable. This means unsafe conditions could be life-threatening for this individual.

It’s a common belief that suicide risk comes from ligature points that are above head height. However, studies have found suicides can occur where ligature points have been below the head or even at waist height.

Another thing to bear in mind is that when individuals seek to self-harm, they don’t look for obvious ligature points.

So, within PICUs, when seeking a heating solution for a radiator or an air conditioning guard, it’s essential they’re anti-ligature.

With standard grilles and casing designs, there are a series of ligature risks. To assure all anti-ligature risks are minimised, search for a heating solution that follows these certain characteristics:

 – Small grilles, we recommend IP3X rated grilles
 – (If wall secured) no large gaps between product and wall
 – Minimal gaps or joints
 – No sharp edges
 – Bullnose, rounded corners
 – Security locks and fixings
 – Use anti-pick mastic to seal to the wall and cover any potential gaps

With these design characteristics in place, you’ll considerably minimise the potential for service users to tie rope or cord around any ligature points in PICUs.

Searching For An Anti-Ligature Solution For A High-Secure Mental Health Hospital?

Vandalism is something of common occurrence in PICUs. However, upon the destruction of furniture, the damaged and sharp points can be used as weapons to cause harm to themselves or others.

Contour’s anti-ligature radiators and air conditioning guards are available in Zintec protected steel in gauges ranging from 1.5mm to 3mm. This provides assurance that the heating solution is strong and robust in avoiding vandalism and injury.

For more high-risk environments that require extra strength, Contour can provide a strengthening strut to assist the front of the cover for maximum strength.


Ensuring that ligatures are reduced in PICUs that you specify can save money and severe injury to service users.

Specifying a heating solution that offers durability, strength, and a reduced risk of self-harm will be a long-term investment for your client.

Click here to request a quote. If you need any other design guidance for PICUs, phone 01952 290 498.

Contour can be contacted at;
The Mansions
43 Broadway
TF11 8BB
Tel: 01952 290 498
Email: [email protected]

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