Safe isolation saves lives

Professional electricians and installers are risking their lives everyday by not following basic safety procedures. An average of 250 people are injured by electricity or electrical discharge whilst at work every year*.
Michael Adamson died as the result of an electrical incident in August 2005. Aged just 26, Michael was an experienced electrician but due to a number of health and safety failings on the site he was working on, including the failure to implement safe isolation procedures and a failure to provide lock off devices and testing equipment, he came into contact with mains voltage power and died. Since then Louise Taggart, Michael’s sister, shares Michael’s Story and works tirelessly to ensure no other family has to endure what her family has been through.
In 2018, Super Rod and Louise Taggart commissioned a survey with the Electrician’s Community UK group on Facebook and used the shocking results about their working practices to start a conversation with installers about safe isolation and to encourage them to work safer.
The campaign helped a lot of electricians realise the importance of safe isolation in their day-to-day job. However more work needs to be done to prevent injuries and fatalities.

The importance of safe isolation at learning stage
As part of the company’s ongoing campaign to improve isolation standards in the electrical industry, Super Rod have worked with The Scottish Electrical Charitable Training Trust (SECTT) and developed a training module for apprentices to learn about safe isolation on their very first day.
Featuring the survey’s eye-catching infographic showing the shocking results about UK electricians’ working practices as well as Louise’s powerful video telling her brother’s story, the first part of the Safe Isolation course looks at the devastating consequences of poor procedures leading to an unnecessary death. The second part of the course looks at ways to ensure safe working practices to keep workers safe while at work and use the word ISOLATION as an aide-memoire to remember the different steps to safely isolate.
In Scotland, SECTT run the only industry approved training scheme for electrical apprenticeships and this course has become compulsory.
With no central training structure covering England and Wales, the picture is more confusing, with lots of opinions on when Safe Isolation should be covered.
Super Rod have launched a Support Programme for further education colleges offering not only quality and safe tools to colleges for use in their workshops but also educational resources to assist college lecturers in delivering the best training for their students. These resources include Safe Isolation posters to help colleges raise awareness about one of the key issues in the industry.
Super Rod Managing Director Malcolm Duncan comments: “Get into the habit of always working safely and being aware of the potential risks involved in failing to do so is key to any apprentice electrician’s learning journey. We are committing our own resources to raising awareness of the issue and finding solutions that will encourage smarter, safer working environments for our electricians.”
For more information about the Support Programme for further education colleges email us at

Changing your working practice could save your life
The survey carried out in 2018 showed that a quarter of the respondents rarely or never used a lock out kit to isolate the electrical supply they are working on and 1 in 5 don’t even carry one in their van or tool bag. Without a lock out kit in place, installers are ‘working live’ and any accidental contact can cause serious injury or even loss of life.
So why don’t installers use a lock out kit, a vital piece of equipment which could save their life? A third said they worked alone so didn’t need to use one (31%), 1 in 10 (10%) said they were too much hassle and others felt they were too expensive (9%). 10% didn’t use a lock out kit because their employer didn’t provide them with one, and 4% said they couldn’t find them in their local wholesalers.
Habits are difficult to change but what is more important that changing habits that will potentially prevent injuries or death?
Experience shows that electricians employed by electrical contractors are particularly at risk of death or serious injury from electric shock or burns if they fail to follow safe working procedure.
For Ricky Howell, electrician and co-founder of the Electricians Guide to Everything podcast, safe isolation is an important matter and has to be taken seriously. Ricky knows the electrical industry desperately needs to change towards safer working practices. He recently identified an issue regarding safe isolation procedures within the company he works for and took the initiative to put together a training programme.
The programme includes a PowerPoint presentation delivered by Ricky on why and how to safe isolate followed by an exam, then a practical course followed by a practical exam.
“ I recently identified an issue in my company in regards to safe isolation and offered to create and deliver a training program to solve it. Fair to say the company agreed and were more than happy to support me creating the training.
I think the importance of safe isolation being carried out 100% of the time is paramount and to get this across to my peers I have used Louise Taggart telling her brother Michael’s story. It’s hard hitting, told beautifully and really hits home. It’s all about giving people the confidence to do it.
Stepping off the tools to do something that really means something to you is pretty incredible.”
We hope the work we are doing will continue to inspire people to step out of their comfort zone and challenge their employers about improving working practices.

Positive News
It is nearly two years ago since Super Rod picked up Michael’s story, and the trade media have also played their part with lots of coverage across all the main industry journals, and also some great coverage by Sam and Ricky at EGTE on their podcast.
Repetition is key here, to keep refreshing the message and building safe working practices for all involved, the work is not complete, but with increased awareness, and the support of some key people in the trade, lives are being saved.
For more information about Super Rod visit or find them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. To read more about Michael’s Story, visit Listen to Louise sharing the tragic story of her brother on the Electricians Guide to Everything (EGTE) podcast The EGTE podcast is available from all podcast platforms.

*RIDDOR statistics