Excerpt from the OH & S Canada magazine
Saskatchewan is beefing up its labour laws to better protect late-night workers in the wake of several high-profile fatalities that took place in convenience stores and gas stations across the country.
At the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour (SFL) convention in Regina on November 3, 2012, Labour Minister Don Morgan introduced new rules that he says will better protect late-night retail workers and those who face a high risk of assaults. The new regulations came into force in January, 2013.
A statement from Saskatchewan’s Ministry of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety sites save cash handling procedures, use of video cameras and the provision of good visibility and signage for all late-night premises as among the improvements. Establishments are also required to put in place a check-in system and provide personal emergency transmitters to all clerks working alone on the late shift.
Glennis Bihun, Executive Director of the provinces Occupational Health & Safety department in Regina, says those mandatory regulations are part of the overall workplace hazard assessment programs. “It provides an opportunity for an employer to do an assessment to identify the kind of things, in addition to the mandatory security measures, they might need to do to minimize or eliminate the risk of violence for workers.”
The efforts were in response to the 2011 death of Jimmy Ray Wiebe, who was shot by armed robbers while working the late shift at a Shell gas station in Yorkton, Saskatchewan. The incident spawned Jimmy’s Law, an initiative calling on the government to improve protections in 24-our workplaces.
“We are pleased that the government is actually taking the first step to recognize that people who work in 24-hour convenience stores and gas stations are very vulnerable, and are often the victims of violence,” says SFL president Larry Hubich. He suggests that more options, such as bullet proof and shatterproof barriers between customers and clerks, a pay-before-pump system, and ensuring that at least two workers are on duty during each shift, can help bolster workplace safety.
The Western Convenience Stores Association commended the government’s move, adding that it is developing a recognition program for convenient store owners in the province who implement safety standards applicable at all hours of the day and go beyond the new regulatory requirements.
Here we find the province of Saskatchewan taking a leading role in Occupational Health & Safety again. Although many provinces have some type of higher standard dealing with workplace violence, Saskatchewan is decided to make the changes now to show due diligence. Someone has to protect the workers! The province is obligated to ensure that all workers have a safe place to work. It is too bad that such legislation comes after a high profile case has people up in arms.
I’m not sure who is pulling the strings in Saskatchewan but I take my hat off and congratulate those willing to make a difference in their province.
Remember – In Canada, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”
HRS Group Inc. has a great team that can help you with all your health and safety needs including ‘Due Diligence’ and ‘Standard Operating Procedures’. Contact Deborah toll free at 1-877-907-7744 or locally at 705-749-1259.
‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.
Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP – Advanced Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.