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Equipment Liability and Safety Information
Limitation of Liability
Our products are intended for use only by trained professionals and, even though we use the finest materials available, we cannot guarantee freedom from injury. The user assumes all risk of injury or applicability for a particular client. All merchandise is sold under this condition, which no representative of the company can waive or change.
Although we try to make each Southpaw product fun to use, therapy is a serious business. Our equipment is not designed to be used for unsupervised play. Even a simple piece of equipment can be dangerous if used improperly.
Our photos and suggestions are not intended to be recommendations or endorsements for any activity. We cannot accept responsibility for the accuracy of any such information. It is up to you, the therapist, to determine whether a given activity is appropriate for the situation. Most Southpaw products are intended to be used by both children and adults. Throughout this Web site, we provide a recommended maximum working load for each item. WORKING LOAD is the combined weight of the client and the equipment, plus the force created by motion (i.e. bouncing, rotating). Please do not exceed this maximum and check ceiling support systems regularly.
Although we use the finest materials available, all equipment will wear with use. Since our guarantee does not include normal wear, we strongly recommend you schedule regular inspections of all equipment to avoid unexpected failures or injury. And remember, Southpaw equipment is not recommended for outdoor use. The word "safety," as used in our catalog, is not intended to mean or imply the item is safe under all conditions, but simply that is has been tested and approved by Southpaw.
Since our products are constructed on a limited scale, we often are able to make special modifications to easily accommodate a larger client or meet special requirements. If you have an idea or request, please contact us: (800) 228-1698. Please, for the safety of your clients, and yourself, check your suspended equipment on a regular basis.
Safely using suspended therapy equipment requires that the therapist have a high degree of knowledge about sensory integration techniques, spotting techniques, proper mat utilization, and a number of other highly specialized skills. Nevertheless, nothing is more important to the safety of the patient than how the therapy equipment is attached to its support structure.
Swings, nets, ladders, pulleys, and trapeze bars are hung from eyebolts bolted into ceiling supports. Many therapy settings do not have their eyebolts installed properly.
Another concern is the use of substandard swivels. This is due to a number of reasons. One, therapists are not trained about construction hardware. Two, contractors and/or maintenance personnel may not be proficient in the mechanics of the type of therapy being performed or the therapy apparatus.
Southpaw recommends that a forged steel eyebolt, purchased from an industrial or wholesale hardware store be properly bolted into your ceiling support structure. Our line of suspended equipment was designed to hang from a forged steel eyebolt. When properly installed (bolted in, not screwed in), the forged eyebolt can sustain a 1,000-pound working load at up to a 45-degree angle in any direction. Remember that during treatment activities, the pull will not always be straight down. Even a gentle swing on the equipment varies the angle of pull on the ceiling support point. There should be no more than a 1/4 inch of movement in your eye bolt. A ceiling support eye bolt which sways back and forth more that a 1/4 inch is UNSAFE. If your ceiling support point moves or rotates, it is not safe to treat on and should not be used.
Remember to be safe, all ceiling support points must be able to hold at least a 1000-pound load.
There should be no movement at this fixed point, no rotation, and minimal to zero swaying with linear or orbital movement. The eye bolt should be at least six feet from any wall.
Once installed, check the eye bolt and all other metal items for wear. Whenever metal rubs on metal over a period of time, one of the pieces will eventually start wearing. Check you equipment regularly, when it begins to show visible signs of wear, arrange to have it fixed or replaced.
Some bolts, such a wood screws and bent wire bolts, are unable to withstand heavy loads and excess movement. Eyebolts of this nature could pull or twist out of the ceiling support or even break in half.
Now that you are aware of importance of the eyebolt, we need to focus your attention on (1) the structure above the eyebolt, and (2) the best way to preserve you eyebolt – a good rotational device. The best solution is that a forged eyebolt is flush with the ceiling. However, there are so many variables associated with suspension equipment along with the hundreds of possible eyebolt structures and room settings that it would be impossible to discuss all the variations available to you here. We would like to help you analyze the safety of your structure, but will need your input to effectively access you particular needs. Please feel free to e-mail us (firstname.lastname@example.org) , phone us (800) 228-1698, send us your drawings, blueprints, or pictures and we can do the analyzing for you. Or, ask your architects or engineers to call us, and we can recommend solutions to their possible problems.
We do need to discuss the preservation of your eyebolt. After all, it’s expensive and hard to replace. A worn eyebolt can be overlooked unless an alert therapist takes precaution.
The best way to preserve your eyebolt is by using a steel safety snap and a proper safety rotational device. Even if you don’t believe in spinning, a rotational device is helpful. Why? Because even when you move a client in a partial circles (orbiting), a constant pressure is exerted on the eyebolt. With a rotational device, that pressure is minimized.
It pays to use the proper equipment. Don’t settle for second best. If you purchase a swivel at the hardware store and think it’s adequate simply because it "turns easily", you are taking a risk. The only way to know if the rotational device is adequate is its response when the working load is applied. A simple rule of thumb is: a rotational device is adequate if it turns with the weight without resistance.
Another area of concern is proper height adjustment and the material used for the suspension interface, i.e. rope, chain, etc. That is one of the topics for next month. We will also be discussing proper spotting techniques for safely monitoring and assisting during treatments.
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 point should be able to support at least a 1000 pound static load at up to a 45 degree angle in any direction.