News Views: Dying in vain

The was put in place after Grant de Patie was run over and dragged to death while trying to stop a driver from stealing gas

WorkSafeBC has stripped down Grant’s Law, allowing late-night staff at convenience stores and gas stations to again work alone.

The legislation was put in place after Grant de Patie, a gas station attendant in Maple Ridge, was run over and dragged to death while trying to stop a driver from stealing gas.

British Columbia was the first province in Canada to make drivers pay before pumping gas. Grant’s Law also forced employers to put in place safety measures, such as glass barriers, to protect workers, and required that no one have to work alone on graveyard shifts.

But now that latter part has been repealed.

Instead of having two people on shift, convenience stores can follow other safety procedures, including time-lock safes that can’t be opened during late-night hours, video surveillance and good lighting, as well as keeping limited amounts of cash and lottery tickets at hand.

WorkSafeBC decided it costs too much to expect convenience stores and gas stations to have two people on late at night and to install protective barriers.

But a video camera will stop an armed robber?

The Western Convenience Store Association, which lobbied for the change, believes money can now be saved and, in turn, spent on other security measures. It argued that having more than one person on staff doesn’t stop criminals from committing robbery.

No, but police always looking for witnesses.

And saving money in one area doesn’t mean that owners will spend it to improve another.

Before the amendments to Grant’s Law, Shell stations installed glass barriers and magnetic door locks. Pricey or not, they put their employees’ safety first.

That is what WorkSafeBC is meant to ensure.

But the decision to amend Grant’s Law does nothing to improve or maintain workers’ safety. It suggests these minimum-wage workers aren’t worth protecting. Who cares if they are scared, or scarred?

Apparently you can put a price on somebody’s life.

If convenience stores and gas stations can’t make enough profit in the middle of the night to assure the safety of their workers, then they shouldn’t be open for business.

 

– The Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News