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October 28, 2021

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Electrical Safety

Working with electricity: 5 steps to safe practice

Electrical Equipment Provider, Martindale, launches new, simplified safeguarding process, ALIVE, to help prevent injuries and save lives, 16 years after the tragic death of 26-year-old Electrician, Michael Adamson.

Michael Adamson was an experienced electrician who lost his life in a preventable electrical incident in 2005 when called to an “all hands on deck” job to help get the gym within a large sports shop up and running. Cutting a cable marked “NOT IN USE”, which was, in fact, wired into a distribution board and not safely isolated. Michael suffered a fatal electric shock.

Louise Adamson

Since Michael’s death, his sister, Louise Adamson, SHP’s Most Influential Individual in health and safety for 2018, has worked tirelessly to ensure that others don’t have to suffer the same tragic loss. As part of her efforts, she helped to convert the Scottish Hazards Campaign Group into a charity that provides a health and safety advice centre for workers.

In an effort to prevent such fatalities, various approaches to electrical safety and safe isolation have been developed over the years, including a comprehensive guide created by the Electrical Safety Roundtable which proposes that the all-important lock-off kit should be included in the essential PPE list for electrical workers.

Now, in an ongoing bid to safeguard workplaces – and protect the lives of anyone working on or near an electrical installation – Martindale has created a new, simplified version of its more extensive and detailed process in the hope that its memorable acronym – ‘ALIVE’ – which aims to help to prevent injuries and save lives.

Steve Dunning, Managing Director, Martindale, explains; “We need to acknowledge that, in terms of the safety of individuals, there is a difference between the activities that should take place prior to working, such as gaining permission and permits, for example, compared to the activities that are totally critical in terms of preventing accidents and fatalities. For instance, a risk assessment is a critical element of any job, but it is not core to safe isolation in terms of staying alive. The same is true for activities that take place after working on an electrical system, such as safe re-testing and start-up.

“We and the Electrical Safety Roundtable have both defined clear and comprehensive 12 step procedures that are well-documented but lives are still being lost – totally needlessly.

“In creating our ‘ALIVE’ message, we are distinguishing between good working practice (such as our complete 12 step approach and the Electrical Safety Roundtable’s guidelines) and shining a spotlight on the five vital steps that absolutely must be carried out for your own protection and to prevent loss of life. The 12-step approach will include activities that should certainly take place, particularly in terms of compliance; both sets of process and procedure are valid and, in fact, complementary, but by streamlining the message and focusing on the most vital elements, following the ‘ALIVE’ process is what will, quite literally, keep you alive.”

5 fail-proof steps to safe isolation

Martindale ALIVEA – Approved Kit

Before starting, make sure your equipment meets all legal safety standards (BS EN61243-3).

L – Lock Out

Identify the point of isolation – lock it off – and place warning tags onto the equipment.

I – Initial Prove

Test your Voltage Indicator against the proving unit to make sure that it’s working properly.

V – Voltage Test

Use your Voltage Indicator to confirm that there are no dangerous voltages in the circuit you are about to work on.

E – Ensure

Prove and re-test the Voltage Indicator against the proving unit to ensure it is working, before you start working on the circuit.

All Martindale electrical testing products will now be sold with a hard copy of the memorable ‘ALIVE’ message to ensure that it is shared as widely as possible and that the handy card remains accessible at all times to anyone working on or near electricity.

Steve Dunning continues: “There are no reasonable circumstances in which you should be working with live equipment. By making this process as straightforward as possible, our hope is that more maintenance engineers, more technicians, more operatives, more hard working people will go home safely to their families at the end of their working day. It really is as simple as that.

“Every life lost to such incidents is absolutely tragic. It is all of our responsibilities to prevent this from happening and we will not stop sharing this message until such fatalities are a thing of the past.”

Downloadable ALIVE resources for H&S Managers, can be accessed here. 

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