Reduce the Risks of Working Alone

Early this summer, on the night of June 30th to be exact a Yorkton gas station attendant, working alone was murdered, for what was most likely, no more than a couple of hundred dollars. The victim, Jim Weibe was working alone. Not long after, police arrested 20 year old Kyle Furness and have charged him with first degree murder.

Weibe joins a growing list of people who met their ends while working alone, overnight for shitty pay, in gas stations and convenience stores across North America. They are basically sitting ducks waiting for the next lowlife to crawl out from under some rock.

Weibe’s friend Aaron Nagy is trying to do something about that. He has started an on-line petition and a Facebook site in an effort to convince the government to bring in legislation which would protect people in Weibe’s situation. He says, no one should be working alone. I agree with him, no one should be working alone, particularly in the middle of the night.

Nagy is on the right track but, I can tell you, he has an uphill battle. I would be amazed if this business friendly Saskatchewan Party Government gives the issue much more than lip service.

The issue of people working alone extends far beyond gas station attendants.

In 2001 after SaskTel employee John Davies was shot and died while trying to restore telephone service to the Star Blanket Reserve I looked very closely at the issue and wrote a Health and Safety report entitled Reducing the Risks of Working Alone.

I gave a few seminars on the subject trying to raise awareness of the risks and we talked to the government of the day, but from my perspective, not a great deal has changed in the last 11 years.

Information available to employees who are concerned about working alone in Saskatchewan are grossly inadequate and guidelines for employers lack strong legislation to back them up. Surprisingly even the Alberta guide on the issue does a better job.

It is time to fix this issue. Let’s get at it.

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