Alberta introduces bill on gas prepayment

EDMONTON — A bill that would enhance protection for fuel and convenience-store employees is one step closer to reality, as Alberta mulls proposed legislation requiring violence-prevention plans and pre-payment for fuel at gas stations across the province.
According to a statement issued by the Alberta goverment on October 30, the province’s Minister of Labour Christina Gray met Lawrence Richler, vice-president of Canadian Products Marketing with Husky Energy Inc. at the Brookview Husky in Edmonton to discuss measures to improve worker safety at fueling stations. If the proposed legislation is 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 and violence-prevention plans at retail fuel and convenience stores. The new measures are expected to take effect on June 1, 2018.
Over the past three years, “gas-and-dash” incidents at both urban and rural locations in the province have resulted in five worker deaths and serious injuries to three other workers. The rates of fuel theft incidents reported to police rose between 2011 and 2015. The Alberta Association of Chiefs of Police estimates that there were more than 4,000 incidents across the province in 2015, averaging 12 fuel thefts per day.
“As Albertans, our hearts break when we see incidents of violence involving workers. That is why we are taking action to increase safety for retail fuel and convenience store workers,” Minister Gray says in a statement.
Where pay-at-the-pump technology is not available, retailers can institute other options, such as requiring customers to deposit cash or a credit card with the cashier before fueling begins. Several fuel retailers in Alberta have already established, or are working to establish, mandatory fuel pre-payment polices.
“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,” Richler says.
Doug Rosencrans, vice-president and general manager of 7-Eleven Canada, says he believes that 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.”
Alberta’s oh&s legislation requires employers to take all reasonable steps to protect worker health and safety. Proposed violence-prevention plans, which would help employers reduce the potential for violence through physical and procedural control measures, include safe cash-handling procedures.
For retail workplaces that are open to the public between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m., time-lock safes that cannot be opened during those hours are required. Employers should also limit the quantities of certain items, such as cash, lottery tickets and tobacco, available during those hours. Other measures include visible signs indicating to the public that the retailer uses time-lock safes, equipping lone employees with personal emergency transmitters and providing worker training in all aspects of the violence-prevention plan, the statement notes.

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