By Phil Mangnall, National Sales Manager at Jaga Heating Products UK
The demand for new schools and additional classrooms continues to grow as pupil numbers rocket. For those involved with the building of these establishments, there is a Duty of Care to protect both children and staff, on top of the normal considerations when developing a new school building or extension. There are various safety considerations to be aware of in these environments, but a primary one is how the building will be heated.
Importance of child safety
Safety is of upmost importance in any public place, but especially in schools. According to the Leisure Accident Surveillance System, in 2010, 1,970 people were injured in a public building by either a radiator or a section of hot pipework over a 12 month period, and of these accidents 1,399 occurred in a place of education. All incidences were serious enough to warrant a hospital visit.
Suffering a burn can be a traumatic incident for anyone, but this is particularly acute if suffered by children or vulnerable adults.
Fortunately, measures have been put in place to ensure that the risk is minimised. Every public establishment that caters for children or the vulnerable must ensure that their radiators do not exceed a surface temperature of 43 degrees. Shockingly, standard steel panelled radiators can reach almost double the recommended temperature at 75 degrees – hot enough to cause a serious burn in seconds. Children are unable to react appropriately or quickly enough to a hot surface – therefore these standard radiators can pose a significant risk.
Low Surface Temperature (LST) radiators provide the safest solution
Traditionally used in care homes and social housing, LST radiators offer the ideal safe solution for educational establishments. They have cool to touch casings which never exceed specified temperatures, eliminating burn risks. For more vulnerable educational environments, such as nurseries and primary schools, they can be fitted with a base grille which encloses all the hot pipework, so those crawling or inquisitive children can explore freely in safety.
Sharp pointed edges are another factor which can be found on standard radiators that lead to injury. LST radiators have been designed specifically with safety in mind and all have rounded corners and edges to protect all occupants in cases of falls. Where necessary, LST radiators can come with locks to ensure they are not tampered with, providing the extra piece of mind.
Children do not think about the simple things that can cause injury in their surroundings, nor should they have to
Safety should be of paramount importance when building or refurbishing a school or classroom, children do not think about the simple things that can cause injury in their surroundings, nor should they have to. This should be thought out and eliminated during the design and build process so they can be young, inquisitive and learn.
Value safety, risks minimised
What parent doesn’t want their child at a school which prioritises safety and wellbeing? Which radiators you choose may seem like an insignificant part of the overall building operation, but it is crucial that schools ensure that their heating system meets with the legal requirements. Spaces must be created which value safety and minimise risk.