My heart goes out to the people in Prince George who are connected to the lumber mill tragedy. What a terrible tragedy for the families, and the community as a whole! Most of all, I feel humbled, diminished. As a teacher, I don’t face the kind of risks that big industry workers face every day. Its easy to forget that the machine that pays for what I do is run by these hard-working people, and that people sweat their lives away to make the machine go. In this case, they gave much, much more.
I also feel angry. Only weeks ago, another mill explosion happened under almost identical circumstances. Everyone who has a brain in their head knows damn well that dust is the issue here: fine particulate dust, just like the dust in flour mills. Nevermind the “no proof” and the “we need time to investigate” bullshit. Unless you’re an idiot, you know that the fine dust from pine beetle infested wood is the problem. I heard one guy on the CBC this morning saying that when you mill the stuff, you can hardly see across the room for the dust.
How on earth is it possible that the employer at this mill allowed this very preventable situation to happen? Why didn’t the employer, knowing full well that this mill is in the same situation as the previous mill that blew, protect the workers? Why didn’t the employer add more cleanup time to the budget so that the dust could be properly removed? A couple of guys dead – a few lost fingers, a few in the burn ward. All part of the risks inherent in the industry, right? Yeah… right.