Why cut corners with electrical safety when the consequences could be so severe? Di-LOG Group’s David Sweetman, along with Health & Safety Trustee, Louise Taggart, look at the reasons behind our industry’s renewed focus on safe isolation education.
Our daily routine has changed considerably during the past several months and humanity has adapted swiftly to protect themselves and others around them.
The few extra minutes to apply your face mask and the regular application of hand sanitiser really does ‘save lives’ in the fight against COVID-19.
Many individuals working in the electrical industry, including myself, have spent years campaigning to help make our working environment a safer place. As a manufacturer of electrical test equipment, I feel that myself and my colleagues at Di-LOG have a responsibility to the industry to keep critical safety equipment affordable and easily accessible.
Over the past 12 months, Di-LOG has invested well over £30,000 in the product development and marketing of safe isolation test equipment and our message has remained clear throughout: safely isolating all electrical circuits saves lives.
When preparing this piece, I contacted Louise Taggart – an associate of mine, who I’ve had the pleasure of meeting on several occasions – for her input. Louise should be very familiar to electrical industry professionals after sharing her own tragic circumstances (Michael’s Story) and the tireless work she has undertaken to promote best practice and safety within the electrical industry. Michael’s Story has sadly reinforced just why taking a few extra minutes to implement a safe isolation procedure is so critical for the safety of yourself and others around you.
Although it’s difficult to know how many of the following statistics were caused by inadequate safe isolation, in the five years between 2015 and 2020 there were 21 fatalities reported to the HSE under RIDDOR which were caused by contact with electricity. This reduced to one death in the year 19/20, but there has already been at least one fatality that I’m aware of so far in the year 20/21.
The facts are simple – you’re more likely to die if you’re involved in an electrical incident than you are in other types of work-related incident. The following extract, taken from the HSE’s training brochure, supports this point: “In Great Britain, roughly 2 in every 50 electrical accidents at work result in a fatality, compared with 1 in 500 from other causes. As well as electric shock, other electrically-related injuries arise from burns, arcing and fires. Many of the injuries can take a long while to heal and often result in life-changing conditions.”
To further support this initiatve, the team at Di-LOG are working closely with our national distribution network of electrical wholesalers and online specialists to make our complete safety range of products easily accessible and affordable to all levels within the electrical and mechanical industry.
Our national sales and technical teams are on hand to assist you with any questions that arise with the implementation of safe isolation equipment across your business, as we continue to make our industry a much safer place to work.
“DON’T BE AFRAID TO STOP THE JOB”
My brother died at a time when safe isolation had been taught to apprentices for the 20 years previous. We’re now 15 years further on, and it breaks our hearts a little more each time we hear OF an incident caused because safe isolation isn’t being put into practice. Employers should provide the right tools and equipment so their workforce can do their job safely. As an employee, if you’re not being provided with voltage testers, proving units and LOTO kits, simply STOP THE JOB. There is no element of your job that is more important than you arriving home safely to your loved ones at the end of your day’s work. My wee brother didn’t make it home to his fiancée. He didn’t get to become an uncle to my two wee boys. He didn’t get to become a dad to children of his own. He died at the age of 26 in an entirely preventable incident. Safe isolation saves lives and stops such heartbreak.
Louise Taggart, Workplace Safety Speaker, NEBOSH Ambassador and Health & Safety Charity Trustee
Get more details about Di-LOG’s range of safe isolation products by clicking here