EDITORIAL: Tragic death all for naught

Changing the rules for late-night gas stations puts a price on a life.

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But now that latter part has been repealed.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.

Will a video camera stop an armed robber?

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.

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