Working with a "Killer" (Electricity)

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In this article Slaters Electricals’ Operations Manager, David Kerr, reflects on the age-old anecdote and the hard work that all of our workforce put in to ensure this will never apply.
A colleague was recently recounting an incident from his early days working on a high voltage electrical site, when an experienced engineer pulled him to one side to deliver the warning, “you do realise that you’re working with a killer don’t you?”. The intention was to frighten the new apprentices into believing that one of their older colleagues had a brutal and chequered past, when of course the killer they refer to was in fact electricity.
I’m sure almost everyone who has worked on an electrical site or installation will have a similar story, and whilst it may seem nothing more than a joke and a bit of ‘banter’ at the time, the message comes across loud and clear and is something that you never forget (and we all hope that we’ll never witness to be true).
Fortunately, we do not rely on clever anecdotes to ensure that we work safely and have the utmost respect for the so-called killer; what we do and how we do it is ultimately governed by the legal requirement to have safe systems of work according to the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989. Furthermore, in accordance with our High Voltage Electrical Safety Rules, Slaters Electricals are committed to providing a safe place of work free from the risk of injury from electrical systems / apparatus. This commitment applies to our own staff and contractors within our jurisdiction. In order to satisfactorily perform and deliver the high standards that we have set ourselves, a range of nominated staff are required to perform various essential duties.
We have nominated and appointed personnel actively performing the role of ‘Authorising Engineer’, ‘Senior Authorised Person’, ‘Competent Person’ and ‘Authorised Person’ (to name a few) on a daily basis across a diverse range of activities, equipment types & geographic locations.
All of our staff performing these roles have received considerable and regular training combined with many years of experience in the field. Succession planning is therefore a major requirement to ensure that the experience is passed on, and the next generation of nominated staff emerge. It is something we pride ourselves on doing very well; the fact that some of the best Engineers in their field are Slaters Electricals Engineers is not down to good fortune or luck, it is by design, to train, support and develop the very best.
As part of the commitment to our customers, staff development and strategic business growth objectives, we are pleased to announce that 3 of our skilled electrical staff were recently promoted to the position of Authorised Person (AP). With over 20 years’ experience under their belt (combined), the new AP’s are familiar with a wide range of switchgear, transformers, test equipment and protocols, and in particular have each received accreditation from 2 independent bodies on the safe operation of High Voltage Power Systems.
I’m certain all members of the Slaters Electricals installation and maintenance team will raise a smile recalling the old anecdote mentioned earlier (or something very similar), however, the cold and very real message reinforces why we do what we do and our commitment to provide a safe place of work free from risk of injury. Our new AP’s join a high performing team who live and breathe the Slaters Electricals #Safetyfirst ethos every day and we wish them a long, successful and safe career ahead.
For more information on Slaters Electricals HV Maintenance contracts, #Safetyfirst campaign, or for any Power distribution equipment (including Transformers and Switchgear) please contact us by email: or telephone: +44 (0)191 414 2916