The killing of a convenience store employee in Saskatchewan in June has spurred the provincial labor federation to support a petition to change regulations for retail employees working alone, according to a report from the Canadian OH&S News.
Many delegates attending the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour's (SFL) annual Occupational Health and Safety Conference recently strongly supported and signed a petition calling for the introduction of "Jimmy's Law" into the provincial legislature, says Larry Hubich, president of the SFL. The proposed law is named after Jimmy Wiebe, who was murdered at a gas station convenience store on June 20 in Yorkton. (WCxKit)
It would require employers to schedule two employees to work together between the hours of 10 or 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. or provide protective barriers between lone workers and the public.
The incident that prompted the petition occurred in the early morning hours. Members of the Yorkton RCMP received a report of a man who had been found deceased in the Shell Canada convenience store by a customer, says Corporal Rob King, a spokesman for the Saskatchewan RCMP division. Four days after, King says, the Yorkton RCMP detachment charged Kyle Furness, 20, with first-degree murder in connection with the homicide of the 50-year-old worker, an employee of the store for more than 10 years.
Jimmy's Law is modeled after similar working alone regulations in British Columbia which were introduced in 2008, but have not yet come into effect because of the complexity of the issue, according to Megan Johnston, a spokeswoman for WorkSafeBC. That year, however, BC introduced a separate pay-then-pump requirement following the death of a young gas station attendant.
"Grant's Law" – named after Grant De Patie, who was dragged to his death while trying to prevent the theft of gas from a station in Maple Ridge, BC – requires mandatory pre-payment of fuel at all gas stations in BC, Johnston says.
Wayne Hoskins, president of the Western Convenience Stores Association (WCSA) in Surrey, BC, says it's important to note the distinction between mandatory pre-payment of gas and the requirement for multiple workers or barriers. "While Grant's Law was well-intended, it refers to outside, or ex-store, and not in-store coverage," Hoskins explains.
In British Columbia, the working alone regulations – known as the Late Night Retail Safety Procedures and Requirements – consist of an engineering control (barrier) or administrative control (extra staff), Johnston says. Hoskins says that a third option has also been proposed: additional training, testing and certification. This option, a combination of both engineering and administrative controls, will be presented to WorkSafeBC's board of directors in October. (WCxKit)
Ontario is another jurisdiction considering a mandatory pre-paid policy for gas stations following a recent gas-and-dash incident. A gas attendant Hashem Rad, 62, was struck by a vehicle that took off with unpaid gas at a Petro-Canada station in Mississauga, Ontario. Rad was taken to hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries the following day.
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