Low surface temperature units’ major safety benefits

Chris Harvey, head of Marketing at radiator manufacturer, Stelrad, looks at the advantages of installing low surface temperature (LST) radiators in healthcare settings, particularly in terms of enhanced safety for more vulnerable very young and elderly patients.

Sustaining severe dry burns from radiators and associated pipework is something no one wants to imagine for their loved ones, but the elderly, vulnerable people, and of course very young children, are the most likely to suffer these, at times, life-changing injuries. There is, however, a way of ensuring this can never happen, and leading radiator manufacturer, Stelrad Radiators, offers the sector a leading range of a type of radiator that offers ‘safe-to-touch’ heating – which is being specified almost as a matter of course in

healthcare environments that are heated by typical ‘wet’ heating systems. LST – low surface temperature – radiators are key, for example, where there is a need to meet NHS Guidance for ‘Safe Hot Water and surface temperatures’ – in hospitals, surgeries, care and nursing homes, as well as sheltered housing, schools, and nurseries, and in an increasing amount of general needs housing that may be used by vulnerable people during that home’s lifetime. They are also highly relevant in sports centres and other public service

buildings, where the owners want to take all the risk out of the building from ‘day 1’ of it being in operation.

Some of the key risks

When asking whether LST radiators are needed, you only need to consider the risk of, in particular, older people falling and injuring themselves on a radiator, along with the potential dangers from those with a visual impairment bumping into or brushing against radiators. Some elderly people have a reduced sensitivity to high temperatures, while others simply cannot react quickly enough to prevent injury from hot surfaces if they inadvertently touch and come into contact with a conventional radiator, where surface temperatures may be as high as 75 °C. Older people, and those suffering injuries, have an increased susceptibility to losing their balance and falling, and the possibility of these people falling and becoming trapped against a conventional radiator brings the need for LST radiators sharply into focus. Of course, the injuries that are possible to the very young are too horrific to contemplate. Serious dry burns can be caused very quickly at these temperatures, and it’s generally accepted that LST radiators are the obvious response to the dangers.

Casing ensures safe surface temperatures

Low surface temperature radiators come with a casing that surrounds the radiator, allowing the heat to convect in the normal way, while ensuring that the casing at no time exceeds 43˚C. With Stelrad LST radiators, the casing covers the radiator, but also the incoming pipework, which ensures that all the heated surfaces are concealed, and that any exposed surfaces stay at a safe temperature. They also come with tamper-proof casings, so that the safety of the radiator cannot be compromised.

The LST Standard Hospital unit. Stelrad Radiators says its LST radiators offer ‘safe-to- touch’ heating – “which is being specified almost as a matter of course in healthcare environments that are heated by typical ‘wet’ heating systems”.

64 Health Estate Journal February 2021

LST radiators need to be designed to ensure they offer as much protection as possible to those for whom they are designed to provide heating. They need to include rounded corners and edges to

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