Suspension & Hardware safety tips Sensory integration therapy is not inherently dangerous, but every activity has certain elements of risk. Precautions can be taken which will eliminate most hazards. Southpaw is committed to helping its customers develop a comprehensive safety strategy. We believe the elements of comprehensive safety include the layout of the clinic or therapy space, the installation of ceiling eyebolt supports to the proper specification, the implementation of a systematic equipment inspection program, proper matting and personal protection. Ceiling Support Information In spite of the fact that there are so many different types of ceiling structures, there is a standard rule which should be met. Your ceiling support should be able to support at least a 1000-pound working load at up to a 45-degree angle in any direction. Remember that during treatment activities, the forces acting on the ceiling eye bolt will not always be straight down. Even a gentle swing on the equipment varies the angle of those forces on the ceiling support point. There should be no more than 1/4” of movement in your eyebolt, which is up to and inclusive of the stated 1000 lb., 45-degree pull. A ceiling eyebolt which moves back and forth more that 1/4-inch under any load is UNSAFE. If the eyebolt rotates under any load, it is UNSAFE. Your ceiling support point should meet these standards no matter what population you treat or the manner in which you treat them. As children progress through S.I. therapy, they put an ever-larger strain on the equipment and ceiling eyebolts. The unique needs of each child you treat may call for different levels of activity. A clinic that currently serves only children who passively swing may serve a completely different population in one, two, or 14 www.southpawenterprises.com Our knowledgeable Customer Service Representatives are just a phone call away. three years. Quite often the therapist must demonstrate the activity to the child, or even participate in the activity with the child. Accordingly, the ceiling support must be designed around the most rigorous environment, not necessarily the current one. Working Load Simply put, the working load is the combined weight of the equipment, the child and/or therapist on it, and the weight created by movement. For example, if a 150 pound person stands on a scale, it will read 150 pounds. Now, if that person jumps on the scale, the reading will momentarily shoot way past 150 pounds — possibly even 300 or 350 pounds! That is an example of weight created by movement, the result of which is the working load exerted on the scale. The working load is NOT the number at which the equipment will fail, but rather it is the maximum sustainable load that the equipment can handle. In Summary Your ceiling support should be able to support at least a 1000-pound load at up to a 45-degree angle in any direction. There should be no rotation and zero or minimal movement in the ceiling eyebolt under any load. A ceiling eyebolt which moves back and forth more than 1/4-inch or rotates is unsafe. Once installed, scheduled inspections and maintenance should be carried out. Equipment Inspection and Maintenance We here at Southpaw have long known that most therapy equipment takes quite a beating. We work hard to design equipment around this fact, and we use the best materials available. However, even the best piece of equipment will have a finite life. In the few instances of equipment failures we have seen over the years, most of them have resulted from parts wearing completely through, such as eyebolts breaking or ropes failing. With few exceptions, these failures could have been completely prevented by simple, routine inspections. WARNING! Eyebolts will wear with use and must be inspected on a regular basis. Discontinue use of eyebolt and replace immediately when wear begins to show. Do not let wear exceed 30% of the eyebolt. A comprehensive inspection and maintenance program should include the following: Training Every piece of equipment that we manufacture includes an instruction sheet and maintenance checklist. These should be kept in a known location, and every therapist who will be expected to use the equipment must familiarize themselves with the instruction sheet. It will include a list of all parts, setup procedures (if applicable), safety notes, inspection point, and also cleaning and storage instructions. Note: We rarely give instructions on how to treat a client with our equipment—the treatment needs of every child are different, and a therapist’s education and experience in sensory integration, along with the creativity that S.I. therapists are known for, should dictate the specific treatment applied. The importance of proper, scheduled maintenance cannot be overstated.
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