Proceed with all deliberate speed
In 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that segregation of public schools was unconstitutional, and ordered states to end it, “with all deliberate speed.”
It was a phrase which was seized on at the time by some stats as a way to delay integration as long as possible, and the wording has seen been treated mainly with scorn.
There are times, however. when doing something “with all deliberate speed” is the best way of doing it.
One of those is the WorkSafeBC investigations into the fatal explosions and fires at mills in Burns Lake and Prince George this year.
Yes, people want to know why these tragedies happened and whether there was a link in the causes. Yes, millowners want to know so they can take steps to make sure something like this never happens again.
But the one thing we don’t need is the investigators taking a quick look at the circumstances, coming to a hasty conclusion, and calling it done.
They have to get it right.
A lot of speculation has focused on the amount and kind of sawdust present in the mills, and that may well turn out to be a major factor.
There are other possibilities which need to be looked at, including the chance there is no link between the two explosions, that each of the explosions had a different cause.
Some people have already been calling, at extremes, for all mills in the province to be closed down until the investigations are complete.
We don’t see that as an answer. Mills are already doing more to look at how their operations are run, workers are more aware of the dangers of sawdust near equipment. Those safety measures are being put in place, and will almost certainly be kept in place regardless of the outcome of the investigations, because they make the mills safer in any case.
We need answers on the explosions – but we don’t need quick-draw answers.