MAC responds to the IBEW on safetyBy Joe DeFelice
MAC is aware of rising concern for the safety of individuals who stroll through solar parks or meander through electrical substations.
A new solar park is being built on Canton’s Pine Street landfill, which will essentially make electricity from sunshine. There is an electrical substation on Route 138. The electricity there is made the old fashioned way by burning fossil fuels. These fuels are oil, natural gas, and coal.
Solar electricity is much cleaner. Sunshine is free. You know the prices of oil and gas. Coal is cheaper, but it is by far the worst source of pollution.
Local 103 of the IBEW wrote MAC recently to express concern about your safety should you venture into the solar park. The Local’s letter did not mention the substation, but stay away — it hums with high voltage. Touch the wrong thing and the “old fashion” electricity there will make you smoke.
While Local 103 has not made any money from the construction of the new solar park, they say it’s not about the money. The letter MAC received from the business agent for Local 103 said the union has public safety and legal concerns. The business agent’s letter stated that “this is NOT a union issue” (emphasis added).
So here is MAC’s advice to his readers: Stay out of the new solar park unless invited. If you touch a termination, you could be electrocuted. Also, don’t stick your finger in an electrical outlet at home or work. It’s essentially the same thing.
If you are employed at the solar park, do not touch any of the terminations, especially if the solar panels are exposed to sunlight, and use insulated tools to ensure that you are isolated from any electrical connections, just like you would at home. Also, be aware of the danger of sparks being generated if solar cells are exposed to sunlight and a wire you are dragging arcs against a metal support near a flammable substance. In other words, do not have a flammable substance nearby while dragging a raw wire near supports of sunlit solar panels. Certainly we all know to take these basic safety precautions, both at work and at home.
In any event, we thank Local 103 for its concern for routine public safety.
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