The Electrical Worker online
August 2019

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A Plea for Safety

No one looked at knife-blade disconnect switches through the eyes of a child; none have child safeguards.

I'm writing to praise lawmakers in the state of Maryland for their important work in protecting that state's children against potential electrical hazards. House Bill 586 was signed into law on April 30, effective July 1, requiring lock-out tags on knife-blade switch box enclosures on residential photovoltaic systems. Before this law, these boxes were left accessible and in reach of children far too often. When opened, these boxes can expose children to connections and bare terminals that can deliver life-threatening electrical charges.

As a retired JATC instructor and residential solar inspector, I know first-hand that in homes, they're often placed on exterior and interior walls where children can reach them, so it's important that our industry and our elected officials lead the way in protecting our children.

I hope more states follow Maryland's lead and require locking devices on residential solar installations, and I hope IBEW members around the U.S. and Canada help make it happen. I'd be happy to assist anyone looking to enact these new rules in their jurisdiction. Please email me at

Tommy Davis, Local 26 retiree
Washington, D.C.

IBEW_Facebook  From Facebook: Every month the IBEW Facebook page receives thousands of comments from our dynamic and engaged community of members and friends.

More Than a Job

I am so glad that I was given the opportunity to become a member of IBEW Local 317 in 1970. It was one of the best decisions I ever made. I initially took a cut in pay from the electrical maintenance job I had at a plant where railroad cars were manufactured, but even as an apprentice, the wage caught up and surpassed the factory job in a couple years or so. An older fellow who had been employed at the rail car plant advised that I'd be sorry and construction work would starve me to death. Boy was he wrong! That plant has now been shut down for many years, but as a retired IBEW member, I have been enjoying all the benefits of early retirement since I reached age 60. I shudder to think where I'd be if I had stayed with the first employer.

Paul D. Clary, Local 317 retiree
Huntington, W. Va.

A Sense of Belonging

I am a proud 40-year veteran of the IBEW. I have enjoyed a living wage, great health care and now a comfortable pension. Belonging to a brotherhood is a great feeling, knowing that your brothers and sisters and the IBEW have your back in and out of the workplace. Thank you, Long Island Local 25 and the IBEW!

Charlie Foote, Local 25 retiree
Long Island, N.Y.

Union Strong

Unions are one of the last hopes we have for promoting safety, keeping wages decent, protecting retirement, etc. Unions represent workers way better than politicians do.

Jeff Briddick, Local 702 member
West Frankfort, Ill.

Welcome to the IBEW

Congratulations to Local 410 [at Baltimore Gas and Electric]. It was a long-fought battle, but you made it. Stay strong and reap the benefits of being union.

John Hawkins, Local 1900 retiree
Washington, D.C.

[Ed. Note: See story in this issue.]