Following brother’s preventable death, sister releases videos to promote positive change
A health and safety campaigner and guest speaker has released a series of videos calling on employers to make positive changes to mark what should have been the year leading up to her brother’s 40th birthday.
In the videos, Louise Taggart talks about her electrician brother, Michael Adamson, who was electrocuted at work in 2005 and she outlines what employers can do to improve health and safety at work.
Louise has made these short videos publicly available and has asked that, should you wish to use them in your own workplace or training provision, you make a donation to Scottish Hazards to aid their preventative work. Donate here
The fatal incident
Louise’s younger brother, Michael, died after cutting through a cable marked “Not In Use”, which was in fact wired into a distribution board and was not safely isolated. It took more than three years for the case against the company that employed him to reach court.
Following the trial, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said in a statement that his death could have been prevented if his employer had “ensured that safe working practices were being carried out in accordance with the company’s own written procedures”.
Lock-off/tag out devices not provided
Speaking to SHP Online, Louise said: “I want his story to reinforce why safe systems of work need to be in place, not only on paper, but also in practice.”
The method statement of her brother’s employer stated that “before working on electrical equipment, it should be isolated and secured by means of a padlock”.
However, the devices for lock-off/tag out were not provided by his employer and the practice on site was to use insulating tape.
“The HSE’s specialist electrical inspector wanted to get hold of examples of the lock-off devices to show as evidence at the trial,” said Louise.
‘No demand’ for lock-off devices in the industry
“He was asking for them in Edinburgh, in major industry wholesalers, and at every turn he was being told ‘Nah mate, sorry we don’t stock them. No demand from industry for them’.
“This fundamental safety procedure, each spark had been taught during his or her apprenticeship for around 20 years prior to Michael’s death, was not being implemented by the electrical contracting industry.”
Louise hopes the videos will prompt leaders to reflect on their effectiveness, reinvigorate for line managers and supervisors the role they must play in enabling and driving safe behavioursandl give people the courage to speak up when they see something unsafe.
She has also released the videos to help raise money for the health and safety charity Scottish Hazards and to mark International Workers’ Memorial Day.
“I’m on a mission to ensure that lessons are learned from my wee brother’s death so that others are able to return home safe and sound to their loved ones at the end of each and every working day or night.” Louise Taggart
To find out more about Michael’s Story visit www.michaels-story.net
To donate to Scottish Hazards, click here.
Hear more from Louise
Louise will share Michael’s story in more depth at Safety & Health Expo, on the afternoon of Thursday 21st June at ExCel, London.
She will go through the catalogue of errors in health and safety management – any one of which would have been serious enough on its own – which accumulated to prove fatal.
Michael’s story can make the world a safer and healthier place to work and live. Come and meet Louise for ideas to help bring about positive change in your workplace.
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