Workers Health & Safety Centre

Employer complies with order to provide guard for an armoured car crew

Employer complies with order to provide guard for an armoured car crew
Brinks armoured car crews in Peterborough, Ontario will each have a guard—in compliance with a decision by a federal health and safety officer upholding a work refusal.
 
On January 23, 2014, federal health and safety officer Bob Tomlin declared the working conditions of a Brinks messenger working in Peterborough, unsafe and ordered the employer to “take measures to correct the hazard or conditions that constitutes [this] danger.”
 
The decision came after the worker refused to carry cash to and from an automated teller machine without a guard, saying it was unsafe for him to carry the money alone while there was no one to look out for pending danger. This is what’s known as a “one-off” crew, in which only one member is off the truck during a cash delivery or pickup.
 
“The diminished ability of a “one-off” crew to monitor for the risk of exposure to the known hazard of assault and injury during a robbery attempt while servicing a front loading ATM machine and during travel to and from the truck constitutes a danger,” said Tomlin in his decision.
 
Prior to the work refusal the worker, a 14-year veteran with the company, was accustomed to working with a 3-person crew with 1 person acting as a guard to continuously monitor for suspicious activity to and from the call and during the time spent at the ATM. In response to the order the employer has since re-instated the original practice for this type of delivery.
 
According to Unifor the union that represents Brinks workers in Ontario the increasing use of smaller crew compliments create a far easier target for armed robbery and pose increasing risks to worker and public safety.
 
The recent robbery of an armoured car at Fairview Mall in Toronto is a vivid example of the need for vigilance and more stringent health and safety prevention measures in the industry.
 
According to police, the armoured car crew was robbed at gunpoint outside the TD Bank. Several shots were fired by both sides at close range. The suspects then fled the scene with “an undisclosed amount of money.” Although no one was injured in the altercation, a bullet hole could be seen in the front window of the armoured car.
 
“The safety of this industry’s workers is an issue we’ve been working on for a while now,” said Teamsters Canada Armoured Car Director, Jim Chalmers. The Teamsters union represents the crew involved in the Fairview Mall shooting incident.
 
In June of 2012, three armoured car guards—also members of Teamsters Canada were killed and another seriously injured after they were shot by a co-worker during a robbery which took place in Edmonton. This tragedy prompted the union to meet with the Minister of Public Safety in an attempt to identify and resolve safety issues in the industry.
 
In response to the growing threat to their members in the armoured care industry, Unifor has launched a national campaign. The union explains, despite the high risks involved in the armoured car industry, and the threats to public safety, there exists a “patchwork” of legislation and regulation across jurisdictions that is “ineffective, over-lapping, at times contradictory and falling behind other jurisdictions across the world.”
 
Unifor are pushing federal lawmakers to “develop a comprehensive regulatory framework to enhance safety and prevent crime by establishing minimum standards in employee training, vehicle specifications, crew compliments and safety equipment requirements.”
 
In Canada, detailed statistics concerning attacks on armoured cars are not publicly available. However, industry estimates indicate that since 2000, there have been more than 70 attacks on armoured cars in Canada, resulting in 3 fatalities and 2 serious injuries.
 
Want to read a copy of Unifor’s policy proposal for the armoured car industry?
 
Want to read a copy of Teamster Canada’s (Armoured Car) press release?
 
Want to read related WHSC hazard bulletins?
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