A Win for the WCSA!
On November 7, 2012 The Honourable Don Morgan, Minister of Advanced Education and Minister of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety, announced the Saskatchewan’s decision to incorporate the convenience store industry’s proven practices into a new regulation designed to protect late night retail workers.
Prior to this announcement a Private Members Bill was calling for either the construction of barriers to separate employees from the public or for employing more than one person during late night hours. One of WCSA’s concerns that these measures would not be effective in preventing potential acts of aggression toward employees. In fact, all available evidence and research suggests that these measures would increase risk, both to employees and to the public.
Another concern was that the Bill did not include any measures that are in fact proven to work – the same problem the WCSA addressed when WorkSafeBC moved to implement similar requirements in 2008. And at that time, a pilot project funded by WorkSafeBC found that it could cost over $70,000 to install an approved barrier in an existing store. As Doug Hartl, chair of the WCSA stated, “The Private Members Bill may have been well intentioned but it could have put many of the smaller independent stores out of business while making the industry less safe. Stores that put up barriers would also have removed safe havens from Saskatchewan’s neighborhoods. The new regulation will turn all late night stores into safe havens.”
The WCSA is therefore pleased by the Saskatchewan government’s decision to hold the industry to its own highest standards and avoid a one-size-fits-all solution. From a policy standpoint, the regulation earns high marks because:
- It supports a level playing field while being sensitive to the differences between stores and locations
- It will actually keep people safe
The new regulation, which applies to retail operations between 11 pm and 6 am:
- Requires employers to conduct a workplace hazard assessment consistent with an approved industry standard.
- Introduces specific requirements to protect all workers in these premises that include:
- Safe cash handling procedures;
- The use of video camera equipment; and
- Visibility and signage requirements.
As well, for those workers who work alone, the regulation requires:
-Procedural implementation of a check-in system; and,
-Personal emergency transmitter devices for individual workers.
The WCSA has committed to developing a recognition program for stores that meet and exceed the requirements of the new regulation. The program will help all stores meet industry standards, regardless of their size or location. All convenience stores in Saskatchewan will be eligible including those that do not operate during late night hours. We hope to launch the program as a pilot in the first quarter of 2013.