I wrote this letter a couple of days ago, to the Lethbridge Herald, our MLA and the Minister of Human Resources and Employment in Alberta.
Dear Honourable Clint Dunford, Honourable Mike Cardinal and Editor, Lethbridge Herald,
I thought employers had learned their lesson a few years ago when a Subway employee in Calgary was murdered while working alone on the graveyard shift? Apparently not.
In Wednesday 15 Nov issue of the Herald, it was reported that the westside Mac?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s Store was robbed while a lone female employee was working the graveyard shift. Although Alberta currently does not have regulations about working alone, perhaps it is about time it did.
This document explains how to reduce the risk to workers being alone; however, as is perfectly evident, the guidelines do not eliminate risk.
This is all an employer is required to do:
If an employer has workers who work by themselves, the OHS Code requires the employer to:
- conduct a hazard assessment to identify existing or potential safety hazards in the workplace associated with working alone;
- implement safety measures to reduce the risk to workers from the identified hazards;
- ensure that workers have an effective way of communicating with their employer, immediate supervisor or another designated person in case of an emergency situation; and
- ensure that workers are trained and educated so they can perform their job safely.
This is hardly enough to guarantee the safety of an individual. I hope this can be changed before we have another tragedy occur.
Currently, only 4 provinces have legislation requiring more than one employee on the night shift. I am trying to find which provinces have this. I read it only two days ago. If my memory serves they are Prince Edward Island, British Columbia, Manitoba and …oh, I can’t remember.
However, this is an issue that should be addressed across Canada. In this day and age it is pure negligence when employers don’t provide for the safety and well being of their employees. I know the argument could be used that it would be a financial hardship for employers to have more than one employee on such a quiet shift. But my question would be, what value is put on a life? Shall we just “hope” it doesn’t happen? Unfortunately we cannot rely on chance.