An investigation by the federal Ministry of Labour has ordered Brink's Canada to immediately alter its practice relating to the driver and guard both exiting the armoured vehicle at drop-offs and pick-ups.
Unifor, the union representing more than 1,500 armoured car guards across Canada, applauds the findings of the occupational health and safety investigation into the "All off" model employed by many companies in the armoured car industry.
"This is a tremendous step forward for the safety of all armoured car workers, this decision has the potential to save lives," said Mike Armstrong, Unifor national staff representative and lead on armoured car industry matters. "We now look to the entire industry to eliminate the unnecessary danger associated with ‘All off’ crews."
Findings of the ministry’s report confirms the importance and safety benefits of having the driver as the crew's eyes and ears.
"The 'All-off' model… does not sufficiently mitigate against the danger of employees being assaulted during a robbery attempt. The model does not provide the employees with any information of suspicious persons or activities occurring outside while they are inside the customer’s location," stated the August 18 ruling, which applies to Brink's operations in the City of Edmonton. "As a result, the employees have a diminished ability to avoid a potential ambush upon returning to the armoured vehicle."
Canada has witnessed more than 85 armoured car robberies since 2000, resulting in five deaths and countless physical and mental injuries. Since 2013, each publicly-reported robbery has involved a two-person armoured guard crew, with many occurring in public spaces or near residential areas. This ruling comes just weeks after a robbery of armoured guards took place near the Mill Woods Town Centre in southeast Edmonton, which resulted in the shooting death of one person.
Unifor has been working to make the industry safer through the establishment of federal standards in employee training, vehicle specifications, crew complements and safety equipment requirements. The union is calling for all party support of Bill C-285, a private member's bill tabled by Peter Julian that would require new federal regulations.
"These employees face potential danger on every shift," said Armstrong. "We look forward to working with our industry partners to implement new protocols to protect them."
Photo: REUTERS/Fred Prouser
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