Government presents Bill to protect fuel and convenience store workers

Above: Lawrence Richler meets with Minister Gray at the Brookview Husky in Edmonton to discuss measures to improve worker safety at fueling stations.

by Morinville News Staff

The government says proposed legislation will make conditions safer at convenience stores and gas stations.

If passed, An Act to Protect Gas and Convenience Store Workers would amend the Occupational Health and Safety Code to include mandatory pre-payment for fuel. Violence-prevention plans would also become mandatory at retail fuel and convenience stores.

The government says gas-and-dash incidents and robberies at both urban and rural locations in Alberta have increased over the last few years, resulting in five worker deaths and serious injuries to three other workers.

“As Albertans, our hearts break when we see incidents of violence involving workers. That’s why we are taking action to increase safety for retail fuel and convenience store workers by introducing mandatory violence-prevention plans and pre-payment options for fuel,” said Christina Gray, Minister of Labour. “This legislation would better protect workers and prevent violent incidents from happening in Alberta.”

The new measures will take effect June 1, 2018, if the Bill is passed.

Proposed violence-prevention measures include safe cash-handling procedures and a minimal amount of cash available to workers, video monitoring and good visibility within and outside premises.

Where the retail space is open to the public between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m., time-lock safes that cannot be opened during those hours will be required as well as limited quantities of certain items including cash, lottery tickets, and tobacco available during those hours. Signs indicating to the public that the retailer uses time-lock safes, has video monitoring and carries limited quantities of certain items will be required.

Personal emergency transmitters will be required for employees working alone and workers will need to take training in all aspects of the violence-prevention plan.

Gas stations without pay-at-the-pump technology will be able to implement other options, including requiring customers to deposit cash or a credit card with the cashier before fueling begins.

“Pre-payment eliminates the risks associated with fuel payments, and we applaud the government for taking this important step to protect attendants and the public,” said Lawrence Richler, vice-president, Canadian Products Marketing, Husky Energy Inc. “We believe this is the right thing to do – and so do the people working at our stations.”

Doug Rosencrans, vice-president and general manager, 7-Eleven Canada said a safe store environment is paramount to his company which believes pre-payment of fuel purchases will improve employee and public safety in Alberta.

“For many years, 7-Eleven Canada has run an employee safety program similar to the safety plan announced today,” Rosencrans said. “It stems from our commitment to our employees and the communities we serve.”

The Alberta Association of Chiefs of Police estimates there were over 4,000 incidents across the province in 2015, an average of 12 fuel thefts per day.

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