This website uses cookies primarily for visitor analytics. Certain pages will ask you to fill in contact details to receive additional information. On these pages you have the option of having the site log your details for future visits. Indicating you want the site to remember your details will place a cookie on your device. To view our full cookie policy, please click here. You can also view it at any time by going to our Contact Us page.


Lessons must be learned from this tragedy...

Health and Safety should never be far from an electrician’s mind as he or she goes about their work. But external pressures can affect the judgement of everyone and electricians are no different. The case of Mitie employee Michael Adamson who was electrocuted in 2005 while working on the new JJB Sports Centre in Dundee has raised concerns about how time constraints are dealt with by both management and their staff...

The trial, in which Mitie Engineering Services along with three senior employees are accused of contravening the Health and Safety At Work Act, is ongoing and is expected to last three weeks. Mr Adamson, 26, was killed as he was pulling cables along a false ceiling at the premises when his arm touched a live wire. It is alleged by one of Mr Adamson’s former colleagues that the wire had been marked ‘not in use’ at the time so they had no reason to suspect that it would have been live.

It is alleged that there was a failure to ensure safe isolation procedures and provision of suitable equipment which resulted in a live wire running from an MCB in the distribution box as well as the incorrectly marked wire.

During the trial it was revealed that the project had been running behind schedule and that there were concerns they would not meet the hand-over deadline. Despite working the weekend before completion with a larger team, the work had not been finished and it is alleged that the main contractor, Sharkey Group, who had subcontracted the work to Mitie had also expressed concerns that there were not enough electricians to do the job.

The death of any worker is a terrible tragedy but in each instance it should be the duty of everyone in the industry to look at their working practises to ensure a similar incident does not happen again. Although the complete picture has yet to emerge from this particular case and no-one has been found guilty of any wrongdoing, it doesn’t take much to imagine how such an accident could potentially take place along the lines of what has been alleged.

The pressures of business in the contracting world force extremely tight timeframes and budgets but they should never result in a drop in safety levels for anyone involved. It is a sad fact that when the pressure is on, for instance when behind schedule on meeting a deadline, mistakes are far more likely to happen from management all the way to the shop floor. And when working with electricity, these mistakes can be devastating. The work doesn't suddenly become less dangerous as deadlines become more imposing and so people should not operate as if it does.

I was at The International Electrical Product Safety Conference last week, held by the ESC. It was interesting to hear several different speakers mention that they still regularly remind their employees that electricity can not be seen, heard or smelled and that it can kill. It may sound overly simplistic, especially to staff who have been in the business for decades, but it remains true that we can easily become complacent about electricity and forget what it can do.

If you have experienced any shortcomings in safety while working in the industry, let me know:

Anonymity will always be respected.

Enjoy the newsletter,

Richard Scott

Contact Details and Archive...

Related Articles...

Print this page | E-mail this page

Electrical Products