A Letter to the Editor – Workplace Safety

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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?¢‚Ǩ‚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.

Mary Siever
Lethbridge

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.

8 thoughts on “A Letter to the Editor – Workplace Safety

  1. Do you believe more laws would have prevented those crimes? Do thugs obey laws?

    Why should a woman be afraid to work alone or walk alone? Those that hurt others need to be removed from society.

    An iceberg on its way to the south pacific would make a nice prison.

  2. My argument does not specify a woman or a man. The specific instance was a woman, however, if you will read the post carefully you will see I say “employees” with no differentiation between genders.

    More than one employee might deter a potential thief. It might not, but either way, an employee alone is at more risk.

  3. A single employee is more at risk, true. Even multiple employees do not stop thieves from stealing. What does work is for business to install cameras that capture the faces of everyone that walks into the business. Thieves will pick an easier target.

  4. A camera picked up a very clear picture of the robber. He was wearing a skeleton mask and a dark hoodie. Cameras don’t deter them anymore, they just create other ways to fool them.

  5. Mary, I feel your passion on this topic. I think we also need to address the human error factor in all of this. Places like gas stations, late night restuarants have an especially high turn over of employees and the tendancy to “call in sick” when one just wants a night off. This all results in leaving both the employer and working employee at a disadvantage…

  6. Nikki

    Yes this is true. But I don’t know if graveyard shifts actually employ more than one on shift (at least here in Lethbridge). I pass a gas station early in the morning which opens up around the time I am heading to the gym, I have only seen one employee come at that time, though I can’t say how long she is by herself. Perhaps it is a combination of more than one factor. Likely, anyway.

    Oh by the way, Clint Dunford wrote me back, though the letter has yet to be printed in the paper (it will though, they phoned to confirm it was from me) and I haven’t heard from Mike Cardinal yet though.

  7. Oh thanks. I hope they do something, but haven’t heard that changes are happening yet!

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