We were quite taken aback when we read a recent column by Michael Johansen published in The Telegram, Labradorian and Aurora (“Nalcor bedevilled by unwelcome visitors,” July 20 Weekend Telegram) in which the writer basically encouraged people to put their life at risk and, in doing so, also risk the safety and lives of others.
In our view, Johansen’s article encouraged members of the general public to breach the Muskrat Falls construction site with the intent of disrupting site activity.
This has serious safety consequences and is a violation of the law.
First, Nalcor’s No. 1 priority in all our operations is safety — the safety of our employees, workers, contractors and the general public.
Second, most, if not all, large industrial construction sites have restricted access for the same reason — to protect people from injury and prevent fatalities.
Nalcor is not “bedevilled” at the access breaches at site; we are genuinely concerned for our workers and these individuals.
At the Muskrat Falls site, no admittance signs, security gates and a court-imposed injunction are in place for one reason — safety.
A person wandering onto a
construction site is not only risking their safety, but they can distract workers who are completing highly skilled and hazardous activities.
These workers need 100 per cent of their attention on the task at hand and distractions such as site breaches of this nature could have serious consequences.
Current activities at the construction sites include regular blasting, the operation of large industrial equipment and drilling operations.
These are activities which carry high risks to individuals not properly oriented or trained.
Persons on site receive extensive safety orientations and are expected to follow detailed safety protocols.
When someone breaches the site, their safety cannot be assured and it could result in tragic and dire consequences.
Nalcor has also posted safety signage along the Churchill River to warn the public of the life-threatening risk the hazardous site activities may cause to themselves and others if they enter the construction site.
We implore people to respect site access limitations.
We have always respected the right of people to express their opinions regarding Muskrat Falls or any other aspect of our operations.
Our company must continue to prioritize the safety of these individuals and we ask media and opinion-based columnists to help us do the same.
vice-president, Lower Churchill project
Dave Riffe, safety, health, security
and emergency response manager work
for Nalcor Energy, Lower Churchill Project