Selecting the right tool for the job when it comes to safe isolation is a critical stage in any electrical maintenance process but with a bewildering range on offer and so much at stake in terms of safety, how can you be sure that you have chosen the right tools for your specific requirements?
Fit for purpose
Whilst equipment selection for safe isolation may appear to be a relatively straightforward task, it’s clear from rising penalties associated with breaches of Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act Etc 1974 and annual accident at work figures that the safety of operatives and those around them continues to be compromised by failure to adhere to proper safe isolation procedures and choosing equipment that is not fit for the intended purpose. Within the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Guidance Notes, GS38 now clarifies the latest safety standards for electrical test tools and accessories as well as the
precautions that need to be taken to keep you safe. Detailing the risks associated with the use of unsatisfactory test equipment, the revisited GS38 includes a list of safety precautions and requirements including a new standard for voltage indicators (VI), requiring a circuit to limit the current in the event of damage to the cable, as opposed to a fuse, which is no longer acceptable.
By opting for dedicated safe isolation equipment that has been designed specifically for the task at hand, it is possible to achieve unparalleled safety and efficiency whilst ensuring compliance at all times. Safe isolation specialist, Martindale Electric, is spearheading the drive for safer working practices by developing targeted product ranges, based on existing technology, geared specifically towards their intended task particularly when it comes to critical testing to prove dead.
When conducting research with our customers, we found that although operators might be used to using a generic voltage indicator (VI), they may not be aware that their legacy VI equipment may be reliant upon battery technology. If you are currently relying solely on a battery-operated device to provide a positive indication and the battery itself is flat, then you may not be able to prove that a circuit is dead. That’s why we have engineered our industry standard VI13800 and VI15000 voltage indicators to work without the need for a battery. With reliability engineered in, potential errors can be avoided as these tools are designed to detect voltage only keeping people safe and ensuring that organic industry standard.
Fool – proof
When we develop products for broader electrical testing applications, we recognise the importance of versatility and a wide range of capabilities. When it comes to safe isolation, we engineer our products to de-risk the process. Our customers told us that they wanted products that are absolutely fool-proof with the least number of ‘clicks’, ‘turns’ and ‘presses’. They demand the most reliable equipment that does the job without overcomplicating the task. They look for equipment that gives a clear indication of results, is safe in construction and absolutely fool-proof. Martindale produces a suite of products specifically to support this simple but critical activity whether used by an experienced maintenance engineer, test supervisors, technicians or an electrical apprentice on day one of the job.
The best voltage indicators for safe isolation are fully compliant with the current standards and have been engineered with safety in mind eliminating batteries and switches that could lead to false indications.
When combined with a dedicated proving unit matched to the VI, it is now possible to fully test that all LEDs on all ranges are working safeguarding against incorrect readings due to a faulty LED, for example. A proving unit is safer than the mains and provides a live source wherever you are working and is the perfect partner for a dedicated voltage indicator.
We always recommend that operators work dead wherever possible and we actively encourage due diligence when it comes to safe isolation, locking off, labelling and proving dead. Using the right equipment is vitally important it’s been designed so that you cannot make a mistake. We have heard people say that they have never made a mistake with a multimeter but it only takes one instance of selecting the wrong range to prove fatal.
GS38 now references the latest edition of the standard for voltage indicators – BS EN 61243-3 – emphasising the need to use proving units rather than a known live source. By using a dedicated safe isolation tool, not only can you guarantee compliance, but you can also be sure that you will not make an error that could prove fatal.
Widely specified by contractors and maintenance teams, Martindale kits include the industry standard GS38 voltage indicator, VI13800, 440V proving unit and locking off devices in a combination carry case so that the vital proving unit cannot be inadvertently left behind.
Easy to use, with no need to take the proving unit out of the case, the kits ensure compliance with the latest regulations and legislation and can even include a bag with a proving unit that fits all standard 2 pole indicators, so customers can continue to use their existing 2 pole indicators.
We so often hear of incidents where a proving device has been left in the van which is why we have designed a smart system that keeps the equipment together, keeping you safe.
The proving unit can even be used without needing to take it out of the bag. Convenient for the engineer or technician, providing these kits also demonstrates that those responsible for electrical safety have made every effort to ensure that the right equipment has been supplied as well as to ensure that it will be used to guarantee safe isolation.
Take a look at our Safe Isolation tools mentioned, here.
UK & Ireland Sales Manager