Proposed legislation to protect gas station workers

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The Alberta government has recently proposed legislation that might keep local employees safer on the job.

If the act passes, it would amend the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Code and require mandatory pre-payment of fuel at all gas stations across the province.

Further, violence prevention plans would become mandatory for retail fuel and convenience stores, a proposition which local gas station manager, Ashraf Nayeem agrees with.

At least twice per week a “gas-and-dash” incident occurs at Cochrane’s downtown Shell gas station, Nayeem said.

According to the province, gas-and-dash incidents, as well as robberies, have killed five workers and have seriously injured at least three others over the last three years in Alberta.

“I strictly told my staff, don’t run (after gas thieves),” Nayeem said.

“If it’s for $40, it’s not worth it,” he said. “We check the cameras (that) capture the licence plate and (then) we call the police.”

The Cochrane RCMP don’t have an exact estimate of complaints of gas-and-dash incidents per week, however said it is a frequent occurrence.

“Complaints of this nature do require us to track down vehicle owners and review video surveillance footage in gas and convenience stores,” RCMP Cst. Kary Moore said. She added the complaints are “only one part of other criminal activities” including stolen vehicles and bankcards.

The Alberta Association of Chiefs of Police estimated there were close to 4,000 gas-and-dash incidents in 2015 across the province – an average of 12 per day.

“Mandatory pre-payment for fuel will save Alberta’s police services hundreds of hours spent responding to and investigating gasoline thefts – hours that would be put towards high-priority public safety issues,” Edmonton Police Service Chief Rod Knecht, said in a press release.

Just last month, a gas-and-dash took the life of one Alberta worker.

On Oct. 6, Ki Yun Jo was killed in an attempt to stop a stolen cube van that had filled up and left without paying at a Fas Gas in Thorsby.

Introducing this legislation will help prevent protect workers, Alberta Minister of Labour Christina Gray stated in a press release.

“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,” Gray said.

If the act passes, it is expected to go into effect on June 1, 2018.

Retailers who don’t have pay-at-the-pump technologies can institute options such as requiring customers to pre-pay with cash or a credit card with the cashier before fuelling begins.

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About Author

Amy Tucker

Amy is a news reporter with the Cochrane Eagle covering everything from fire, crime and education to Morley events. Her previous career highlights include producing a mini documentary in India and coproducing a podcast spotlighting the tricky mixture of love and age. Amy has a degree in journalism and has tendencies to wander. When she's not writing the news, she spends her spare time swimming, dreaming about her next adventure and thinking about ways that she can make the planet a little greener.