It has been sixteen years since Michael Adamson, an experienced 26-year-old electrician, tragically died after cutting a cable marked “NOT IN USE”. The cable had been wired into a distribution board and was not safely isolated; Michael suffered a fatal electric shock. Over the years, leading bodies, such as the Electrical Safety Roundtable, have worked to develop procedures and protocols designed to prevent injuries and fatalities caused by a lack of safe isolation. Now, Martindale has developed an easy-to-follow and memorable safe isolation process: A.L.I.V.E.[1]

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A.L.I.V.E is an easy-to-remember acronym for the five key steps necessary for ensuring effective safe isolation.[2]  

Approved Kit

Make sure that your equipment meets the required legal safety standards. For instance, voltage indicators must comply with BS EN61243-3 like Martindale’s VI13800 Voltage Indicator which has been specifically designed to meet this standard.

Lock Out

Once you have identified the point of isolation, lock it off and place warning tags on the equipment. Martindale advises that a good basic lockout kit should include:

  • A selection of MCB lock-off devices
  • A padlock with a unique key
  • A hasp for when more than one person is working on a system
  • Lockout tags
  • Warning labels

In their comprehensive guide, the Electrical Safety Roundtable propose that lockout/lock-off kits should be included in the list of essential PPE for electrical workers; so, it is worth investing in a good lockout kit now. Martindale’s LOKKITBASE, LOKKIT2PLUS, and LOKKITPRO Lockout Kits provide the lockout equipment you need for as little as £28 (ex VAT, kit dependent).

Initial Prove

To comply with safe isolation regulations, you must prove the functionality of your voltage indicator before testing. It is safer and more convenient to use a proving unit to check your voltage indicator, rather than a mains supply, as proving units provide a known live source wherever you are working. It is recommended that you use a proving unit matched to your voltage detector; this way you can fully test that the LEDs on all your voltage tester's ranges are working correctly. Martindale offers an array of proving units specifically designed for checking their voltage indicators.

To learn more about safe isolation procedures, read our safe isolation blog.

Voltage Test

Having proven your voltage indicator, now you can use it to check that dangerous voltage levels are not present in the circuit you are about to work on. Make sure you are testing the correct circuit, i.e. the one you have safely isolated, and that you test all the circuit conductors that are going to be addressed, whether single or three-phase. Ensure that your voltage indicator is suitable for the task at hand, Martindale offers an eclectic collection of voltage testers suitable for various applications.


Prove your voltage indicator again after testing and before you commence any work. This is to make sure the voltage tester has not faulted or sustained any damage.

Martindale’s A.L.I.V.E Message

To spread their message as widely as possible Martindale will be including a hard copy of the A.L.I.V.E protocol with all their electrical testing equipment. Steve Dunning, Managing Director of Martindale, explains that

“There are no reasonable circumstances in which you should be working with live equipment. By making this process as straightforward as possible, our hope is that more maintenance engineers, more technicians, more operatives, more hard-working people will go home safely to their families at the end of their working day. It really is as simple as that. Every life lost to such incidents is absolutely tragic. It is all of our responsibilities to prevent this from happening and we will not stop sharing this message until such fatalities are a thing of the past.”[3]

Download Your A.L.I.V.E Guide Now

Further Information

For more help, advice, or details regarding Martindale’s A.L.I.V.E safe isolation process or any of their electrical testing equipment, please contact our Sales team on 01642 931 329 or via our online form.

In the meantime, please browse our extensive range of Martindale voltage testers, proving units, lockout kits, and safe isolation kits.

[1] Professional Builder, Five steps to staying alive: simplifying safe working around electricity, last accessed 16 November 2021

[2] The following information is taken from the following source:

[3] Professional Builder, Five steps to staying alive: simplifying safe working around electricity, last accessed 16 November 2021